Goals for Political Science

By American Political Science Association | Go to book overview
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Chapter II. Goals of Citizenship
Education

THE training of citizens is one of the major goals of American political science. Other related goals, including the diffusion of knowledge concerning international relations and the production of leadership for all branches of the public service, will be dealt with in immediately succeeding chapters. In addition, training teachers adequately is an ever-present consideration for political scientists interested in advancing their profession.

Our committee has discovered, as others have many times in the past, that training for citizenship is as difficult as it is important. There is no one easy and assured road to complete success; and the challenge to an academic discipline as thoroughly involved in the problem as is political science is great, indeed.

The need to make citizens better informed and more successful at participation is widely felt. Today, when democratic political and economic institutions are on trial in their struggle with antithetical forces, the pressure on political scientists is greater than ever before in American history. Associations of employers, trade unionists, and farmers are doing what they can to magnify the citizenship emphasis; privately endowed foundations have increasingly devoted their energies to this goal; churches and philanthropic and patriotic organizations are more anxious to participate in action programs than at any time in the past. What can teachers of government do to exercise a more effective influence throughout the educational curriculum, from the lowest grades to the graduate schools? We have concluded that as a skill group much can be accomplished, and that we are not taking advantage of all the possibilities that are open to us.

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