Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics at Yale and a member of the Buckley Program’s Board, recently penned an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In his piece, Prof. Kagan explains the importance of instilling civic values through school curricula. His argument comes in the wake of multiple protests by students and faculty in Colorado opposing changes in a school district’s history curriculum that would promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority. Prof. Kagan underscores the need for “justified and informed patriotism” through a historical analysis of ideas about education.
The civic sense that America needs can come only from a common educational effort. In telling the story of the American political experience, we must insist on the honest search for truth; we must permit no comfortable self-deception or evasion, no seeking of scapegoats. The story of this country’s vision of a free, democratic republic and of its struggle to achieve it need not fear the most thorough examination and can proudly stand comparison with that of any other land.