American Democracy Is In Danger: What Should Social Studies Teachers Do?

By C. Frederick Risinger posted 01-22-2018 04:34:07 PM


I firmly believe that our democratic government is in danger.  I know many teachers who agree with me and several who disagree.  But, it is certainly a "hot topic" in the papers, the magazines that I read, and all the television news-focused channels...even Fox news explores this issue. But, how do classroom teachers bring this issue up without appearing to be biased against President Trump and his advisors?  I have talked with several teachers (and former teachers) that I know, and most tell me that they try (or, if no longer teaching would try) to avoid the specific topic.  They do this so much that they avoid talking about many current events topics, such as immigration issues, like the future of DACA, or environmental issues, such as dependence on oil and expanded oil drilling off shore and in Canada. 

What do you think about my premise...and (1) Do you think this is a major issue for education (specifically public education)?;  (2) Should teachers integrate the topic into their lessons and discussions in the classroom?; and (3) Should teachers tell students what they themselves feel about the question?

Let me know if you think that this is something that teachers should be discussing among themselves...with administrators...and members of the public?  I'd be interested in your thoughts and feelings. 

1 comment



01-26-2018 11:14:11 AM

An interesting query, Fred. One thoughtful "response" (anticipating your post!) was posted in these blogs by Professor of History Robert Shaffer on January 15, 2018. I hope to read more interesting comments here, and following his blog. These are interesting times, and it's a good moment to have these conversations among social studies educators.