A time for a talk on America’s civic culture
On this day of honoring Dr. King, actor Richard Dreyfus took the opportunity to highlight what he calls America's “civics crisis”. He says our schools no longer do enough to teach the future leaders of our country about ethical values and our American heritage.
This was a bi-coastal internet hook-up with one discussion panel on the east coast, another at the Joan B. Kroc Center for Peace and Justice on the USD campus.
The focus of discussion began with the waves of immigrants who came here to escape oppression in their home countries. America offered the freedoms that they were seeking.
Dreyfus says we don't share our American values anymore because the schools fail to teach our children what they are.
Retired Admiral Bruce Boland said the new immigrants to American understand what America stands for but they need to be taught America's values.
Another panelist was the pollster Frank Luntz who said civic's instruction begin's at the home.
Historian Rick Shenkman says we are more schooled today than our grandparents but we know less because we rely on television and the internet rather than the classroom, it has dumbed down democracy because it places a high value on entertainment.
It was a two hour discussion that Dreyfus hopes will begin a national conversation on the importance of teaching civics to all American's, young and adult.
UCSD Political Scientist Sam Popkin says we need to be good followers to our leaders, and we do that by educating ourselves about America's history.
Dreyfus is fostering this national discussion as a means of finding a collective solution. He called it “A time for a talk on America's Civic Culture.”