The Importance Of Talking Politics And Civics With Our Kids

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, November 9, 2020 - 9:13am
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2020 - 9:19am

Talking politics these days can be messy, especially if you do it over social media. But what about talking politics with our kids? Well, it could be one of the more important conversations you have.

Politics is frustrating. And it turns out a lot of adults don’t fully understand the complexities of our system of government.

"One thing that's happened in the past 50 years is that we have placed less emphasis in our schools on civics and history education. And I think now we might be paying the price for it," said Paul Carrese, director of Arizona State University's School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

And that’s why, he says, we should talk politics with our kids, even when they’re little.

"Talk about the news, watch the news, read the news, weave that into the life of a family, obviously, the older the children get, the more that will make sense. But again, the theme here is to start early to think of this little human being as a little citizen."

Because at the end of the day, this is the system they'll inherit and it’s fragile. It requires understanding and an ability to disagree in a civil way. 

"Adults, as well as school aged children don't understand our politics, our complicated constitutional order," Carrese said. "They don't appreciate the civic virtues that we need, the skills and capabilities, we need to be self governing, and the crucial one, to learn how to disagree without demonizing each other or to learn how to disagree in a civil way."

ASU civics quiz.
Arizona State University
The Civics Literacy Test offered by ASU is a 100-question multiple choice test comprised of seven sections.

Resources

Civic Classics Collection: A collection of rare books and manuscripts in collaboration with ASU’s Hayden Library intended to support the school’s mission of civic education through use in classroom environments and public programming. 

Civics Literacy Test: The Civics Literacy Test is a 100-question multiple choice test comprised of seven sections. 

Civics Literacy Flashcards.

Resources For Kids

ICivics: Founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, iCivics provides teachers effective, innovative, and freely accessible resources that enhance their practice and inspire their classrooms. 

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