Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump Do we need a new Schoolhouse Rock! to remind us how to run a democracy?
Many Americans are still going through a whirlwind of emotions as they process November’s election results and the dawning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Although, by the time the official tally is finished, Trump will likely have lost the popular vote by 2 full percentage points, the Electoral College will place him in the Oval Office when a joint session of Congress formally counts the votes in January. Many feel hopeless when it comes to the future of America and criticize the outcome as the result of a broken system.
But while Trump may have won the big seat in the Oval Office, officials in other branches of government at the federal, state and local levels have the power to stand up to Trump’s agenda. For American voters to effectively push these levers of power, however, they’re going to have to understand how government works.
Studies show that at the moment, many Americans lack that knowledge. In one 2014 study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) could not name all three branches of the federal government. Fusion’s 2015 “massive millennial poll” reports an even more frightening statistic: 77 percent of people aged 18 to 34 were unable to name a senator from their home state.
If Americans could become as knowledgeable about the way our government works as they are about the lyrics to the catchy raps in Hamilton, they can better stave off the Trump agenda.
In a different time and in a different tune, Americans were able to do just that on Saturday mornings with Schoolhouse Rock! The program started airing on ABC in 1973. David McCall, a concerned dad (and well-known advertising executive), wanted to create a way for Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump - BillMoyers.com: