Richard Dreyfuss on Civics, Public Education

In the spirit of Independence Day, we’d like to share this statement on public education and Civics in particular, which comes to us from Academy Award-winning actor and friend of the March Richard Dreyfuss. Best known for his roles in films like The Goodbye Girl and Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dreyfuss is also a staunch supporter of a well-rounded public school education for all students.

From his video statement:

There can be no greater mandate in education than enabling and guiding our children to act as responsible citizens engaged in their community, nation, and the world around them. We know that our children will be the source of new ideas, new industries and new jobs; the source of solutions to new problems facing our world…

Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are the solution. But teachers must have the tools, knowledge and resources they need to convey these ‘truths we hold self-evident’ to the students they serve, who in turn serve our collective future.

Please enjoy the video, and be sure to join Richard Dreyfuss and other public school advocates in taking action for public schools this July 30th!

ETA: Also, check out our joint statement on the importance of Civics.

Dreyfuss Testimonial

10 thoughts on “Richard Dreyfuss on Civics, Public Education

  1. Jesse Turner

    Thank you Mr. Dreyfuss, yes the story that is not being told by our leaders in DC is that civics is being taken out of the curriculum all across the nation for practicing for isolated testing in reading, writing, and math. The more impoverished the community the less civics education, the less music education, the less art education, the less science education, and even the less physical education a child receives. This is not education this is a pipeline to prison for the children of working class families.
    John Adams said “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”
    It appears our leadership has lost sight of a child’s right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain. So I am studying the art of politics, and this is why I walked to DC last year, and this is why I am part of Save Our Schools March, and why I am marching to DC again.
    Walking and studying my way to DC,
    Jesse

  2. Gloria Andersen

    I’m a retired American Government Teacher. It is incredibly important that students learn the history of our government and the constitution. One recent e-mail i received asked to remove the priviledges of tenure in Congress. The writer of the e-mail was never taught that every two years the majority of voters can remove any Congressperson they want by VOTING.
    We have Presidential candidates who do not know what state “the shot heard round the world” was fired from, and some who think the Mayflower Compact is the law of our nation.

    I hope to be in DC to be part of this rally.

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  5. Terry Moore

    If we teach our kids morality without discourse and action, a lesson in civics is purely history.

  6. Abbey Aznar

    How eloquent!! I wish everyone, especially the governor of N.J. would read this. Maybe he would take back some of the horrible things he said about teachers. I only hope that I made some impact on those students I taught. If only a few remember how to treat others with respect and dignity, I will be happy. If only a few will read for themselves and to their children, I will be happy. If only a few remember that learning is forever, I will be happy. If I made some impact on some of my former students, I will be happy.

  7. Yvonne Cordes

    I see the future of America as returning to the class system where the rich and powerful control an underclass of ignorant and oppressed people who work to please the powerful. Only by learning about the past can we understand how this was the history of out ancestors and the reason people came to America . Education is the key to freedom for both the individual and the society
    Thank you Richard..

  8. Joel

    Mr. Dreyfuss,
    I agree with your ideas on the importance of civics. I disagree that public schools have that responsibility. See if our kids were actually taught about the constitution and what it means to be a republic…. they would all realize that there is no constitutional basis for a department of education. It is not in the enumerated powers. Education used to be the responsibilities of families and comunities when enough families existed in a location to co-op their efforts…. government has done many unconstitutional things over the past 100 years. I think saving public schools is the problem… they problems continue no matter how much money it thrown at it… you want to see education improve in this country?… inject competition… start more charter schools, offer voucher programs and put the responsibility for, at least where their child is educated, back in the hands of their families. Your dancing on the edge of sounding like a mouthpiece for teachers unions.

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