When speaking of the importance of preserving democracy, Socrates isolated two key forms of defense: the military and the education system. With regard to the latter, the importance of a comprehensive education for all young citizens in a democracy cannot be stressed enough. Today’s young students, as cliché as it might sound, truly will be the leaders of tomorrow, so there are certain pieces of information and skills that today’s students need to have in order to keep the democracy running as smoothly and accurately as possible. According to a column at the New York Times, the College Board, an organization that administers and analyzes the data from the SAT, recently said that one piece of information that really dictates how well a student will do outside of high school is knowledge of the United States Constitution.
Teaches Basic Rights as a Citizen
Having an awareness of the United States Constitution lays the foundation for a strong citizenry. When students have an intimate, comprehensive knowledge of the privileges laid out in the Constitution, they can make informed decisions. Some basic rights that students need to have an awareness of include the different branches of government, such as the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch, as well as the checks and balances that each branch has for itself and creates for one another. In turn, students become protected from misinformation and lies disguised as the truth on various media outlets.
Prepares Students for Voting
When it comes time to elect representatives, having an informed populous means moving closer to a true democracy. Students who are aware of the ins and outs of the United States Constitution are less likely to be persuaded by the emotional appeal of political campaign ads as well as speeches that are littered with half-truths. The Constitution provides citizens with a framework for what the country was founded on and the principles that we want to preserve in order to remain a strong democracy. Having a thorough understanding of the Constitution also allows young students to elect leaders who uphold the principles that the Founding Fathers built the country on, which prevents falling victim to manipulative politicians who want to put their own needs and desires before that of their constituents.
It is no surprise that the College Board isolated an understanding of the Constitution as an indicator of future success among American students. Having an awareness of the principles upon which the country was built and is also currently functioning are important so that we can preserve democracy. In the future, there will hopefully be a continual trend toward increased civics lessons across the curriculum in secondary schools in the United States.