We’ve let the meaning of America be reduced to guesswork. It might not be too late.
Our democratic republic is failing, and it shouldn’t be a surprise. We can’t fly a plane without training; we can’t practice medicine without attending medical school. And yet we expect the American people to wield the full power of their citizenship, the product of the most revolutionary governmental thinking in human history, without any education.
We no longer teach our children the Bill of Rights or Constitution. We don’t teach the Enlightenment values that underpin them. We don’t teach the critical thinking skills and mental agility necessary for our own sovereignty. We’ve stopped teaching civics, and now we can’t have a civil political discussion. The American experiment may fail if we don’t act.
Richard Dreyfuss is a forceful advocate for civic education. His latest work, One Thought Scares Me…, explains how the lack of civics education in American education for the last fifty years has led to the deterioration of all aspects of the lives of us, the people. And it shows us the path to reclaiming our American ideals.
About the Author
Richard Dreyfuss was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1947 and began his acting career at the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center when he was eight years old. He acted on television in shows such as Bewitched and The Big Valley and others for over a decade and worked in theater in Los Angeles from 1963. He started doing features in roles of size in the early 70s such as American Graffiti, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and Jaws. He won the Oscar in 1978 for his performance in The Goodbye Girl. He has been acting in American theatre and films for 45 years. In his personal life, Dreyfuss has undertaken a nation-wide enterprise to encourage, revive, elevate, and enhance the teaching of civics in American schools. He has become a spokesperson on the issue of media informing policy, legislation, and public opinion, both speaking and writing to express his sentiments in favor of privacy, freedom of speech, democracy, and individual accountability.
The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative is a non-profit, non-partisan organization launched in 2008. It aims to revive the teaching of civics in American public education to empower future generations with the critical-thinking skills they need to fulfill the vast potential of American citizenship. Its programs promote the advancement of civic education, civic virtue, and the role citizens can play in the success of the United States.