I’d say half of this is on a really good path, and the other half is going to FLOP. First, the good stuff. It’s in the first half of your pitch and work, mainly. The nonpartisan, observational view of politics is really hard to achieve, and so lacking in our current discussion. We need to learn how to break down the bullshit of politics that keeps people divided and fighting, and look at human needs. Even though your personal slants and some opinion show through in this persuasive piece, you manage to bring out a “buffet” view and it’s exemplified by this awesome quote:
“Before I get further into the post, I want to be extra clear that I am not calling any of my fellow citizens stupid…I do not believe, nor do I see any evidence, that education makes people more likely to be Democrat or Republican. There are plenty of smart people on all sides.”
A minor critique of this that detracts from your buffet is your focus on Trump and analyzing a group of people based on who they will vote for. In fact, to maintain this observational buffet-like view, I would avoid segregating people based on candidates altogether. The president changes very little. Stick to policies- you’ve laid out examples of beliefs and policies, both specific and more broad. This is a great way to go. Talking about the effects of the Iraqi war, then broadening to other wars, and then war in general, is a great path from microcosm to macrocosm. From there, people will discover on their own how candidates respond to war tactics.
Now for the major criticism. I am a children’s rights activist and I’ve done extensive research on the topic of education and schooling. You will be surprised to see that this is a global crisis, and it’s because of how traditional schooling was invented. Different elements came at different times. The first element comes at the transition from hunter-gatherer culture to agricultural societies. The short answer is that humans are biologically wired to learn through play- a hunter-gatherer trait, and school is an invention of a survival, agricultural society. Play is hunter-gatherer, work is agricultural. These are psychological and social evolutionary traits. You can read more about this in the book Free to Learn by Dr. Peter Gray. He also has freely available studies found on Google Scholar by searching his name or even the title of the study. I’ve contacted him directly and received information on his Psychology Today site.
I strongly urge you to look into the unschooling movement, charter schools and the most radical schools in the world, that should be called unschools. Your education mindset sounds like you are supporting the same system, and not even changing anything. You really want education to be focused on politics? You say civics but it sounds like it would equate to politics. Guess what, current education is almost monopolized by governments, and citizens support the growth of government more every generation until the parasite kills the host. It is no coincidence just as we would all be smokers if cigarette companies ran the schools.
To suggest even more emphasis or the majority of emphasis be on government sounds like a nightmare to me, and it doesn’t really sound like the actual goal you have. Your goals are not matching up with your strategy at all, and you would benefit from diving into the world of alternative unschooling and peaceful parenting.
The most important part of resolving the traditional schooling epidemic is to make it voluntary. Abolish mandatory school and respect childhood autonomy- give the power back to the kids. Not the parents, not the teachers, not private or government. Privatization is organically evolving, and trying to tackle that is not as direct or rewarding as simply going into communities and encouraging them to support childhood autonomy. One step at a time. Children are naturally driven to learn through independent play, this is the strongest biological resource for humans, and mandatory school is child prison thwarting this.
Most people are afraid of making schools voluntary because nobody would want to participate. This is so funny, it shows that the fastest route to school reform is giving kids the power of the customer role. They would learn very rapidly, we would all learn together as communities scramble to improve education. Right now people are scared and stuck in a safety net, knowing that kids “can’t” just leave school and the stagnate laziness continues. When your paycheck and customers (prisoners) are guaranteed, you are not pushed to improve. Corruption grows from the seeds planted.
I understand your focus is on political intelligence and active accountability. You can still achieve this focus in this book whilst looking at the current and past children’s rights materials. It’s patently, glaringly obvious in this pitch that you aren’t aware of the enriched resources for children’s rights out there that go far beyond a paradigm of vaguely changing how school is done- whilst still ignoring the fact that children are forced into schools.
You should also look into the common use of schools as shelters for abused kids. With the epidemics in abusive parenting and dysfunctional families, where authoritarian protectionism is the norm, schools become a safe haven for kids that are typically better than home. In a struggling economy, both parents are working. Regardless of their parenting techniques or abilities, many parents also rely on schools as a form of daycare. Looking at it in this light, and the story gets complicated fast. You have kids constantly rebelling against the authorities trying to control them, but many of them still voluntarily choose to go to school as a safe haven, and then rebel to various degrees in school. At the same time, there is a lot of cooperation as kids are persuaded and often interested in participating. If the parents and families were so good, kids would never want to go to school.
The reality we are facing, thus, is making schools voluntary in a world where they serve as child abuse shelters. Kids would majority still choose to go, and the kids that would quit school likely have the best families anyways, thus it is a natural solution.
Check out these introductory resources, they will lead you to further research:
*research available on Google Scholar
Unconditional Parenting: Beyond Reward and Punishment by Alfie Kohn (Interview):
Alfie Kohn on Childhood Autonomy (Self-Determination Theory in Schools):
Free to Learn Blog on Psychology Today; Dr. Peter Gray (contact him here):
Dr Peter Gray on TED: The Decline of Childhood Play:
Nonviolent Communication short Intro:
*this can be very useful in cultivating an accepting, non-threatening voice in writing, helping people to open up about politics in a new way.
Nonviolent Communication with Parenting:
Playborhood: Turn your Neighborhood in to a World of Play by Mike Lanza
Sudbury Valley Unschool: one of 12 revolutions in the world, located in Massachusetts:
Willpowerful: Independence in Adolescence, Guide FREE:
*this is my guide, btw. I’m the founder of S.E.A. You can reach out to me for scholarly resources on autonomy, and in other spheres. I have access to paid studies as well.
Thank you for your dedication to this project. I see a lot of potential in its success, I see it’s early in its lifespan and can imagine where it could go if you stay dedicated and passionate. As a writer & conflict mediator, I empathize with the path you’re on. I hope you find some value in the resources and critique I’ve provided.