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Even as Americans’ formal levels of education have risen in the past half-century, our actual understanding of how our government works has declined.1 How did this happen?
Part of the answer is that public schools, which were designed in the nineteenth century to hold the American republic together by teaching constitutional values and love of country, came to focus instead on custodial care and building skills for economic success, and more recently, inculcating political correctness, diversity, sustainability, self-esteem, and “social justice.”2
Professors of education at universities took for granted the nation’s continuation, or in some cases actively rooted against it. Even those who loved America embraced the progressive mindset that the masses need not and in fact probably could not understand government. Rule by technocratic elites, university-trained experts, would supplant mass influence and thus eliminate the need for traditional education in citizenship.3
Second, in the...