Keep the feds out of civics education

On Constitution Day, Sept. 17, President Trump announced that he would sign an executive order establishing a national commission to promote patriotic education. That same day, members of Congress introduced the bipartisan Educating for Democracy Act, which would authorize $1 billion for civic education.

Neither is a good idea, regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum.

The authors of the Constitution wisely did not list education as a federal power. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10, Americans separate into factions when they think about questions such as how to educate young people, and no one faction should be able to tyrannize the rest. Nationally mandated civics education initiatives, whether they come from Republicans, Democrats, or members of both parties, open the door to having factions dictate to the rest of the country how to prepare children for citizenship.

Political science research has shown that top-down education

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