Inculcating democracy

American’s higher education institutions have failed to teach democracy.

In his new book, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham writes that a recent experience with America’s most gifted students at Harvard University confirmed some of his worst fears: that they know little more about democracy than the inner-city high school students he taught 30 years ago. Graham is spot on âÄî America’s youth has fallen victim to an educational system that fails to effectively teach democracy. And higher education institutions like the University of Minnesota are not innocent. Indeed, the University rarely encourages the entire student population to talk and engage with local politicians about issues that affect them most. And itâÄôs discouraging that classes that could teach these missing ideals to students are optional. That the University did not count voting as a legitimate excuse to miss class during last NovemberâÄôs momentous elections sends a message undermining its importance âÄî and from the UniversityâÄôs administration nonetheless. As the American Democracy Project notes, the idea of skyrocketing federal costs with a unanimous public rejection of tax increases has created an uncertain future for America’s federal programs. In fixing this and other problems, democracy with the next generation will be essential. Colleges and universities across the nation will need to equip today’s generation with a fine-tuned capacity to handle democracy’s future challenges by making classes on the topic available and mandatory.