Why Attempts to Renew American Civic Education Are Likely to Backfire

On Congress’s agenda for this year is legislation, with bipartisan support, to provide funding for efforts to improve instruction in civics and the basics of American history. Meanwhile, other proposals are gaining traction for federal and state legislation that would impose new standards for these subjects. Stanley Kurtz argues that these admirable efforts are apt to have deleterious consequences, because the new civics curricula are likely will be shaped by far-left ideologues like those at the consulting group iCivics:

iCivics . . . was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to teach civics to school children via video games. Since then, iCivics has gone woke. It’s now committed to “pointing out institutional systemic racism” even though “this will alienate some.” Its leaders see the younger generation’s approval of NFL players kneeling in protest at the playing of the national anthem as a sign of civic advancement, not decline. . . . What’s more, iCivics was closely involved in the development of that Illinois Civics campaign to bring so-called anti-racism and critical race theory into the classroom.

Nor, writes Kurtz, will private educational institutions be exempt from these reforms:

Over the long term, even private, parochial, and denominational schools will be forced into the same leftist curricular box. Legislators may think they’re voting for consensus-based bipartisan history and civics standards. They’ll be getting woke history and civics instead. . . . Detailed state curriculum standards could be tied to state tests, which are also often imposed on religious schools that accept state tuition vouchers, or seek to participate in other state programs, such as athletics. Failure on those tests would imperil a school’s accreditation, or bring the loss of state voucher funding or other state benefits. Teacher certification would likely also be tied to mastering the state standards.

Kurtz argues that there is a better way to remedy young Americans’ woeful ignorance of their own political system:

The best way to battle educational decline is a return to local control, which should never have been abandoned in the first place. Relying on our current education establishment to carry out reform is a fool’s errand. They are what got us into trouble to begin with. The real hope for improvement lies with parents. A grassroots movement to take back the curriculum from woke education bureaucrats could shift the composition of local school boards across the country.

Read more at National Review

More about: Education, Progressivism, U.S. Politics

Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria