06 Sep 22
The New York Times opinion section put together a series of op-eds from different writers answering the question “What is school for?” One answer, from Heather McGhee and Victor Ray, is that “School is for Making Citizens,” a thesis you could imagine going in a number of different directions. My guess is that a generation or two ago, a piece with that title would have talked about the need to instruct children in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and to remember the names and dates of various great historical personages and events. The point of citizenship education would have been to make people understand what America was fighting for in the Cold War against the Soviets. You could imagine a death rattle version of this reemerging twenty years ago in the wake of 9/11, when “they hate us because of our freedoms” was the piety of the day, and we would show them by teaching the beautiful story of American freedom.