Good, bad of US democracy

People are protesting many of the actions of our new president’s administration, while he has been attacking the credibility of the press. That is “only the tip of the iceberg.”
People are rightfully concerned and many are questioning his actions.
Can a U.S. president do whatever he pleases? What about Congress and the courts? We should all know the answers to these questions, but many of us do not.
Studies taken by various professional education organizations show that only 25-30 percent of America’s high school students are proficient in U.S. history, civics and geography.
In spite of these alarming statistics, many of our nation’s top universities may actually be contributing to this problem.
A recent national study reveals that of the 76 most highly rated universities, only 23 require history majors to take at least one U.S. history course.
Remember that these are “leading” universities that other schools tend to emulate.
This de-emphasis of U.S. history and U.S. government at the college level may help to, at least partially, explain the problem of today’s ill-prepared high school students whose history and government teachers may be as ill-prepared as they.
In addition, state- or federally-mandated tests at public schools often pressure teachers to teach to the expected test items in the form of short-answer-type questions, such as true-or-false, multiple-choice, matching and fill-in-the blanks. None of these determines a student’s understanding of government and history as would essay questions, which require more complex thinking and general knowledge.
The good news is that we have the U.S. Constitution, which defines the specific powers of each branch of government and the rights of the people as specified in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights.
No matter what your level of knowledge may be of the Bill of Rights, I highly recommend that TJP readers of all ages make their way to the Bill of Rights exhibit, currently running through March 16 at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, in downtown Dallas.
The Dallas Holocaust Museum, which is just around the corner from the Sixth Floor Museum, has a special exhibit, Filming the Camps.
A daylong visit to both exhibits will be a meaningful learning experience for anyone concerned about people’s rights in our nation.
A supposed Thomas Jefferson quotation says it all. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”

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