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Simon Institute's Director calls for emphasis in civics education

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
Capitol News Illinois

John Shaw says an informed electorate is more important than ever

As the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute prepares to open its 2022 Renewing Illinois Student Summit, its director says there must be a renewed focus on civics education in the nation's schools.

John Shaw wrote an Op-Ed this week pointing to a critical deficiency when it comes to the American electorate's understanding of how democracy works.

"We have surveys, year after year, that show a shocking number of students - and even adults - don't understand the basic structure of our government, the Bill of Rights, and so forth."

Shaw says that context and understanding of how policies are enacted, and how the government functions, are absolutely essential to voters being able to make informed decisions about their leadership.

"I think there is a really important linkage between having engaged citizens, and enlightened and strong leaders. I mean, engaged citizens expect more."

Shaw says an electorate that can ask tough questions, and push back when leaders aren't serving the public's interest. He says schools - both K-12 and higher education - must put a higher emphasis on civic education to restore America's strong democratic principles.

You can hear more about the Renewing Illinois Student Summit by going to our InFocus podcast page.

Former WSIU Associate Director of News and Public Affairs Jennifer Fuller joined Capitol News Illinois in July 2023 as the organization’s broadcast director.

Contact Jennifer Fuller at jfuller@capitolnewsillinois.com
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