A mandatory introductory American government course in college is necessary


Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan | Flickr

Robert Milman

The national requirement for all colleges and universities to mandate a basic level American government and politics class would highly benefit society as a whole. Any college student could be the next potential president of the United States, congressional representative, senator, governor or mayor. Colleges must provide bipartisan classes for students to learn and form credible political opinions.

Aside from basic global and national history classes, many college students across the nation are left to do independent research regarding modern politics unless they choose to take an American government class.

The 2016 U.S. Census report found that “only nine states require a civics course for an entire year, while 10 states do not make have any mandatory civics education at all, according to the Raider Voice.

With no requirement of taking coursework that focuses on the American government and political structure for those seeking to run for office, voters are left to potentially elect officials with minimal credibility.

Without understanding their constitutional rights and civic duties as a citizen, individuals are held back from the advantages of living in the democracy of the United States. In such a country that promotes freedom and rights to its citizens, being unaware of these rights will only lead to setbacks in the advancement of society.

In fact, The Woodrow Wilson National Foundation found that many Americans lack knowledge about the constitutional amendments.

“When given a multiple-choice question about the First Amendment, 25% of Americans didn’t know that freedom of speech was guaranteed under the First Amendment. Others identified the right to “bear arms” (11%) and “no one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property” (8%), when in fact those are in the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, respectively,” according to the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation.

At the age of 18, United States citizens are given the right to vote in  elections. At this age, most students are either finishing their last year of high school or entering college, with many unaware of their country’s history and the way the American political system runs.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that about 53% of United States adults “say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” and this use is spread out across a number of different sites.”

While social media is a fast and easy way to learn about current events, many platforms project personal opinions instead of allowing the readers to create their opinion on a subject.

Students should learn about their civic and civil rights, along with the American government and political structure in the most bipartisan means possible.

By having bipartisan teachers and professors, students would gain apolitical education be  untainted by other’s political opinions.

With a national mandate at colleges and universities for students to take at least a basic level American government and politics class, everyone can be assured that future leaders and current citizens will have at least some  knowledge of the country’s history and current political structure.