Richard Dreyfuss has been a Hollywood mainstay for years. He’s been in Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, What About Bob?, American Grafitti, and more. But his newest role might be his most important. He created an organization to help solve the “civics crisis” in America. Why? “To teach our kids how to run our country, before they are called upon to run our country,” he said. “If we don’t, someone else will run our country.”
Those are wise words. The Dreyfuss Initiative teaches Americans what it means to be American. But what kind of education are they trying to provide?
The Civic Education we strive to implement is the teaching of American history, government, and civic values through the prism of the Enlightenment Era, which introduced protection of the individual, the people of a nation being the highest political power, due process of law, equality of rights and opportunity, rights of freedom of expression and worship, that were revolutionary in history.
Civic values such as civility, clarity of thought, and the importance of dissent are not inherited at birth. The ideas must be taught, and the younger the better. In light of the changing demands on the education system due to an increasing focus on Science, Math and other academics, civics has seen its allocation of time greatly diminished resulting in younger generations having little connection to our founding documents and political system.In order for our children to be effective citizens, they must understand the development of America so they know how our political structure is unique and exceptional. Additionally, future generations must be taught how to understand all sides of an issue, thoughtfully develop an opinion, and discuss that opinion with civility and reason. We must not shy away from, but embrace teaching the controversial issues and events throughout our history that have shaped the current standing of America. The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative plans to educate citizens on the power they have as well as giving future generations the skills they need to be intelligent citizens. Responsible citizenship is dangerous in its absence and unknowable unless taught.”
We definitely need more of that.
Hats off to Richard Dreyfuss for spending his hard earned capital on something as important as America. Let’s hope Hollywood doesn’t kick him out of town for it.
Watch his discuss his efforts below:
Image Credit: Screen Cap
Hat Tip: The Dreyfuss Initiative