Monday, June 7, 2010

Declaring Independence from Ignorance

"Barely one-third of Americans can even name the three branches of government, much less say what they do," the AP quotes [former Justice Sandra Day] O'Connor as saying at a conference sponsored by Games for Change, a project that aims to promote computer and video games for social change. "Less than one-fifth of high school seniors can explain how civic participation benefits our government. Less than that can say what the Declaration of Independence is, and it's right there in the title. I'm worried."

Courtesy of Education Week.

How is your civics knowledge? Your children's?

If your family is like the other two thirds of Americans, instead of feeling guilty, why not take the month between now and Independence Day (July 4) to do something about it?

The Internet is loaded with resources that can help. Former Justice O'Connor recommends this website:, which offers online games targeted to middle schoolers, like Supreme Decision, which allows students to simulate a day as a supreme court justice.

Or better yet, take a few hours a week and take turns reading aloud from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Practice rewriting them in your own words and imagine listening to or reading those words for the first time today.

When, as a part of human history, it becomes necessary for a nation to break away politically from another nation...

Knowing less than you would like to about any topic is nothing to be ashamed of; it's an impetus to step out and start learning more!

In the meantime, keep your eyes on my blog for weekly snippets of history and trivia about the workings of the U.S. government.

You can do it!

(,, and also offer great resources for further reading.)


Ivonne said...

Hi Leigh,

You and your new book are mentioned in this article.

Have a nice week,

1 Smart Mama said...

Thanks for bringing it to my attention!