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February 21, 2011

President Zack Statement Re: Presidents Day

Presidents Day is supposed to commemorate the legacy of extraordinary American leaders like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and to honor the office of the American presidency. Unfortunately, today too many know it simply as the day of special sales at department stores and car dealers. This is due to the death of civics as an important subject area taught in school.

Recent surveys have found 75 percent of all Americans don’t know that the First Amendment protects religious freedom.  And, that two out of every three graduating high school students believe the three branches of government are Democrat, Republican, and Independent.  And, that fifty percent of Americans who were read the Bill of Rights thought it was a communist doctrine. This lack of understanding and connection to our government is unacceptable.

Schools must begin to teach civics again as a basic subject. Without an appreciation for America’s constitutional democracy, this country will not be able to protect our government and rule of law. That’s why we have acted, creating online lesson plans that can be used by anyone who wants to go in and teach civics to high school and elementary students.

As of this weekend, the American Bar Academy is going into schools across the country to engage with our next generation and teach them the fundamentals of our civic life. I’m proud to have taken part in one of the very first academies, in Miami. This hands-on approach to bringing civics back into the classroom will help motivate all Americans to preserve our extraordinary balance between three co-equal branches of government, and protect our fundamental freedoms.

Learn More About:  Zack, Stephen N.