Civic Education Lacking

A study by the Florida Bar found that almost half of those surveyed were lacking in civic education. The findings come at a time state lawmakers are debating what should be taught in schools, but there isn’t much sentiment for strengthening civics.

The study found that four out of 10 people could not name the three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial branches

At the Capitol, lawmakers are tinkering with the states education system. House chairman Ralph Arza says strengthening civics is not on the agenda.

“A lot of it has to do with our textbooks. Our textbooks emphasize the federal government instead of the state and local government that affects people the most.”

Florida Bar President Alan Bookman says understanding civics is important for government to function. He sites misunderstanding of how the Terri Schiavo case was handled as an example.

“We’re more concerned about the ten second infomercial or the ten second sound bite to really understand what the role of the judiciary, what the role of the legislative and what the role of the executive branch is.”

In the Bar study the most popular wrong answer was Republican, Democrat and Independent.

Another civics study conducted nationally found that only 22 percent of those asked could identify more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment; speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress.

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