Where Have All the Civics Classes Gone?


         Civics classes, whether on their own or as part of Social Studies, have slowly disappeared. When the “No Child Left Behind” educational push took over in 2001, it kicked off a huge effort to increase STEM classes (science, technology, engineering, and math).  This was a good thing for everyone …

          ′ except for civics education. To increase STEM education, something had to give, and that was Civics and History and Social Studies.

          Here’s where we are today: The federal government spends $54 per student on STEM efforts.

          It spends 5 cents per student on Civics. That’s five pennies. $.05.

          Of the 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2017, only 18% were in STEM-related fields.

          Of the millions of students in America’s middle grade and high schools who don’t get any civics education or enough civics education, how many of them will need to know how to be effective citizens who understand our country well enough to help keep it strong?

          All of them.

          Hmmm. Interesting …

          And as for what civics actually is, I’ll take a stab at that next week. However, to do that, I will require chocolate … lots of it. (Melissa—please buy more Cadbury eggs before they disappear from the stores!)

2 thoughts on “Where Have All the Civics Classes Gone?”

  1. Catherine, you are certainly right about how STEM unbalanced the educational scale. It will be interesting to see your definition of civics. One of Montana’s Senators thinks civics is continually increasing support to Veterans. The other believes in patching imaginary holes in our voting system. Our state legislature thinks civics means freedom to own several guns, including assault weapons. Not much is said about making it easy for everyone to vote — although our Native Americans keep pointing out the obstacles. Fortunately, Montana has a good civics book used in the elementary schools, a 1972 Constitution requiring Native American education in our schools, and a State Supreme Court that has protected the Constitution against repeated attacks.

    • Technically, I think all of those things fall under the civics umbrella. Of course lots of things are open to interpretation, such as the Second Amendment, but even knowing about the Second Amendment is part of civics. Hope you are feeling better!


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Minnesota State Arts Board grant

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.