Letter to NM MOCs re Civics, History and Critical Thinking Education

[Date]

Dear _____,

A democracy cannot function without an informed, reasoned citizenry that participates in the process of government. Today in America, people have to rely upon information from a variety of sources in order to make important decisions about their lives, including political choices. Unfortunately, in mass media, social media and digital media there are forces, domestic and foreign, who for selfish and/or sinister and cynical reasons disseminate propaganda, mis- and dis-information that makes it difficult for people to discern and judge the reliability of such information and make intelligent choices. This has hurt and will continue to hurt the country and its people until we address this terrible problem and provide effective countermeasures and solutions.

One such countermeasure is to help people of all ages to become knowledgeable about American civics and government and to have the skills to critically evaluate statements of fact made in the various media and other sources for truthfulness, accuracy and correctness and statements of argument, conclusion and opinion on the basis of logic and reason and the validity of the premises they are built open.

Many educators and political scientists believe that currently do not receive sufficient education about American history and American government in order to effectively prepare them to participate in the electoral process in an intelligent and informed manner and that fostering new and improved curriculum in these subjects would address that deficiency. See
https://thefulcrum.us/civic-ed/how-to-improve-civics-education.

In the last Congress, several pieces of worthy legislation were introduced to realize various parts of these important goals. They included:

1) S. 4928, the Education for Democracy Act of 2020 and its counterpart In the House, H.R. 4668;

2) S.2240, the Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act , and its counterpart In the House, H.R. 4668; and

3) H.R.849, the Civics Learning Act of 2019, sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). Rep. Hastings has already announced that he would be bringing forth the Civics Learning Act of 2021 in the House.

What I am urging you to do is to make as a priority the sponsoring, cosponsoring, supporting and voting to pass legislation to improve and advance through grants and other programs teaching curricula, methods and resources in schools in this country from primary up through postsecondary levels civics, government, media literacy, critical thinking and principles of logic. You can do this by either advancing one of the above-mentioned pieces of legislation or forging a new or hybrid piece of legislation of your own that would best accomplish this sorely needed threat to our democracy.

Sincerely,

John L. House
Individually and as President of RepresentUs New Mexico