What can policymakers do to increase civic learning?
Stewards of higher education should determine what their institutions are actually teaching and their students are actually learning in the key areas of this survey. At public schools, state elected officials also share in the responsibility of ensuring that schools supported by taxpayer dollars fulfill their public mission. All officials should play a key role in improving civic literacy in higher education.
Specifically, policymakers can:
- Provide incentives for faculty to teach more and better courses on the topics in this study.
- Initiate a revision of the curriculum and improvement of the core curriculum, even if a curriculum review has recently been completed.
- Seek funding for new faculty lines, post-doctorals, etc., focused on the teaching of these topics.
- Investigate how well your state’s public colleges are teaching American history, texts, and political institutions, and work to ensure that these basic topics are not being replaced with professors’ personal ideological agendas.
- Educate yourself about the number and nature of courses available at your institution on the topics in this study.
- Encourage the university administration to focus on the issues raised in this survey.
- Include improvement in the teaching of America's heritage in the job description for the next university president.
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute offers several resources of interest to policymakers:
John M. Olin Online Lecture Library (Free)
Student's Guides to the Major Disciplines (CollegeGuide.org)
Recalling Education (ISI Books)
At War with the Word (ISI Books)
John Dewey and the Decline of American Education (ISI Books)
Civic Education and Culture (ISI Books)
Bonfire of the Humanities (ISI Books)
The Life of the Mind (ISI Books)