- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
EDITORIAL: Measuring civic health
Feds shouldn’t pay for unneeded propagandistic studies
Question of the Day
Voter surveys, the Tea Party movement and public demonstrations across the land make it clear Americans think something major is wrong in this country. Not to worry, the federal government is spending your cash to pay so-called volunteers to collect data to assess civic health. That’s hardly what the doctor ordered.
Such is the case with a report released in September by the taxpayer-funded Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs AmeriCorps, along with the congressionally chartered (but privately funded) National Conference on Citizenship. The Constitution was created to limit government, but here the state is paying “volunteers” to determine voting patterns and participation in other civic activities. Talk about mission creep.
The new report - “Civic Life in America: Key Findings on the Civil Health of the Nation” - isn’t needed because private organizations regularly do similar surveys without confiscating taxpayer funds. Last week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) issued “High Schools, Civics and Citizenship: What Social Studies Teachers Think and Do.” Every year, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute produces a report that measures how well - or badly - students and recent graduates do on measures of civic literacy. Numerous studies like these provide fodder for social introspection and plenty of hand-wringing tax-free.
One major difference does emerge from bureaucrat-run projects. Private groups regularly find American schools doing a poor job preparing children for citizenship. The new government report, in contrast, finds everything hunky-dory - and oh-so-politically correct. Consider the first of the findings tabulated by AmeriCorps: “In the true spirit of America, every culture contributes to our society’s rich tapestry. In 2008, African-Americans led the way in voting, Caucasians in group membership and volunteering. Latinos were strong in neighborly activities, multi-racial citizens were the most politically active. …” This is transparent puffery more than profound analysis.
Compare what AEI found: “Only 20 percent of [civics] teachers put teaching key facts, dates and major events at the top of their list.” Half of civics teachers think it’s important students “internalize core values like tolerance and equality,” but only about 40 percent think it’s important to “understand the key principles of American government.” Among the key principles another 40 percent scoff at are “federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances” - in other words, all the things that keep government limited rather than all-powerful.
Knowledge is power. When the people don’t know much, it’s easier for the government leviathan to grow unchecked. It’s no surprise the feds commission studies to measure how the power grab is going.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trump-Carson a 2016 dream ticket
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama fundraises as the world burns
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No U.S. support for Christian peril
- EDITORIAL: Gun-shy Obama
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
Get Breaking Alerts
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'