Pointing to minority figures who took stances based on their civic beliefs — from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King and Colin Kaepernick — King argued that schools have a special responsibility to prepare students for their role in a democracy. He said that purpose was one of the original goals for American public education, something that has become more important as the country becomes more diverse.
He called on schools and colleges to be “bold and creative in educating for citizenship,” and to make preparing students for civic duties “just as much a priority as preparing them to succeed in college and in their careers.”
King said data show that the vast majority of U.S. students have a dismal basic understanding of how government functions and that such ignorance continues into adulthood. Just a third of Americans know that Joe Biden is the vice president or can name even a single justice on the Supreme Court, King said.