Civics in schools | fact or fiction

A most insidious aspect of the Internet and social networks is that anybody can say anything … and what is said may or may not have basis.

Frank Zappa, according to a meme floating at social media sites, said that civics classes in schools were “banished from the student curriculum and was replaced by something called social studies.”

zappaHere’s a intriguing interview with Frank Zappa about the “problems of democracy” – as you listen to it, Zappa is critical of the political system in the US. He contrasts governments in USSR and the USA. Listening to this, it’s unlikely he said what’s on the meme.

So what’s a meme? “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation. a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”

So what about the content of the Zappa meme? Googlesearching for any credible source of the meme, we found nothing credible to indicate that Zappa made that statement.

Value_Civic_Education“One of the primary reasons our nation’s founders envisioned a vast public education system was to prepare youth to be active participants in our system of self-government. The responsibilities of each citizen were assumed to go far beyond casting a vote; protecting the common good would require developing students’ critical thinking and debate skills, along with strong civic virtues. Blind devotion to the state or its leaders would never be enough. Rather, being American was something to be learned and carried out.” – from this NEA Today article, “Forgotten Purpose: Civics Education in Public Schools.”

“Every state requires students to complete coursework in civics or social studies in order to graduate. The amount of coursework varies by state.”Education Commission of the States

“The Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Civics and Government (grade-level standards for PreK-8, 9 and 12 and course-specific for high school) include a strand of standards for “Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.” The standards are “based on the Public School Code of 1949 which directs ‘teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the American republican representative form of government as portrayed and experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and framers of the Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights’. The intent of the Code is that such instruction ‘shall have for its purpose also instilling into every boy and girl who comes out of public, private and parochial schools their solemn duty and obligation to exercise intelligently their voting privilege and to understand the advantages of the American republican representative form of government as compared with various other forms of governments.’”

This Mother Jones article, too, (“Why Teaching Civics in America’s Classrooms Must Be a Trump-Era Priority”) is a critical thought piece about the value of civics or social studies.

Without critical thought, in homes, in schools, in society, the RWNJs and the LWNJs will spin their yarns of hatred and “one-sidedness” in memes … on social media sites … sadly.




  1. Scratching my head over this until I saw it was a response to something from a few months ago. Most things except for math and physics are subjective otherwise politics wouldn’t be so hard. If your new here Bill, welcome. I was delighted to find this sight and to interact with those who post here. I love the Spy too but…

  2. “A most insidious aspect of the Internet and social networks is that anybody can say anything … and what is said may or may not have basis.”

    Ironic that you start the bullshit article with this. He said that quote in an interview.. also, it was social studies not social services..

    • Good points, thanks … thanks for pointing our our mistake, it is social studies. And we’ve made that change.

  3. When i was in high school we had to pass a Constitution test as a graduation requirement. No matter what claims you make about ‘social studies’ in school, if they aren’t giving a Constitution test, then they are short-changing the kids and the country.

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