Feichter and "civic education"
by Alison Adlaf
A Maine South social science teacher traveled to Washington, DC, to address a group of over 100 VIP dignitaries, including U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Mr. Patton Feichter spoke on the importance of "civil education." He gave the speech as a member of the National Standards Committee. He is the only high school teacher on the committee.
The group that assembled in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tues., Nov. 15, also included members of Congress, presidents of national education associations, and textbook publishers. Also present were White House staff, including William Gaston, special assistant to the President and Richard Riley, Secretary of Education.
During George Bush's presidency, Congress initiated a program called "Goals 2000," aimed to upgrading national education standards in core subject areas such as government, history, math and science. President Clinton is continuing this program, which is funded by the Department of Education and the PEW charitable trust.
Feichter has been a member of the National Standards Committee for two years since its introduction.
The speech will formally present to the department of education a different approach to teaching government. Feichter's "civil education" approach means teaching government not only on a strictly factual basis, but also placing an emphasis on how to be a good citizen and the rules and responsibilities that face citizens in society today.
Mr. Feichter offers an example: "We all say 'with liberty and justice for all' or quote 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' but do we know what [they] really mean?" He hopes to change standards across the country so that these phrases will be more than just familiar; they will be understood.