Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute writes a compelling piece here about the decline of civics education in our country and the irony it represents as we discuss when and how to welcome immigrants to the country of their dreams.
If the United States is to open a path to citizenship for today’s undocumented immigrants and maintain a liberal policy toward new immigration, we must break our silence on the sources of the freedom and prosperity that have drawn immigrants to our shores. Our immigration system is broken — but so is our system of civic education. As Congress moves towards opening new paths for immigrants, it should find a way to restore the foundation of American citizenship — the self-confident teaching of American history in our nation’s schools.
American history has always been a powerful force for inclusion, assimilation, and national unity. Children of immigrants from disparate parts of the globe, along with native-born children from all stations of life, discovered what it meant to be an American in our schools, where they recited the Pledge of Allegiance, celebrated Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, learned about the American Revolution and the Civil War, and came to view themselves as part of an extraordinary culture of liberty. But our schools have drifted away from this mission.