The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

Student Voice: More Schools Should Follow in NP3 High’s Footsteps

By Isabel Penman
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times

Memorizing the Bill of Rights and our guaranteed civil liberties, learning about the tumultuous history of the fight for American civil rights, understanding exactly how our President is elected and how bills become laws. These are all crucial pieces of knowledge that lay the groundwork for becoming a civically engaged and aware individual in today’s society.

They are also what have been embedded into the curriculum of NP3 High School classes for just that reason. NP3 requires each and every student to take law-based courses throughout their entire high school, including Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Law and U.S. Government. Why hasn’t rest of America’s education system done the same?

An Annenberg Public Policy Center survey revealed that only little over a third of the U.S. population can name all three branches of government. This fact alone is enough reason to implement such courses in compulsory education across the country.

We live in a country that praises democracy, that is wholly dependent on it. How do we expect to protect our most prized possession while our citizens– the very individuals whom the power of our country should reside– have little to no understanding of that government? The very fabric of our nation relies upon the engagement of our citizens, their willingness to utilize the rights and power bestowed upon them by our very own Constitution in order to check those in power.

Whether we like to believe it or not, the freedoms and rights that we so greatly take for granted are not unconditional nor inviolable. They have come at a great cost, through the hard work and collective thought of our founding fathers, through bloodshed from the time of the American Civil War all the way throughout the fight for our civil rights. Yet, without the accountability of cognizant citizens, these freedoms, these rights can and will be lost. How can we protect something we do not know exists?

Our role in the government, the power of those who we elect, the effects of our actions, both individually and as a country, are not things that should be saved for an elective class. They are not to be pushed aside to make room for the standard language arts, history, math and science classes.

As we push aside these valuable lessons, these necessary truths, we further push aside our freedoms, our rights. And as a society that is becoming increasingly estranged with their own politics and with government, it is more important now than ever to instill an understanding of our society in the same place that we learn everything else.

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