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We need to require civic education in schools

The election has already started.

Early voting/absentee voting/mail-in voting whatever you want to call it is happening everywhere at a record-breaking pace

The actual Election Day, Nov. 3 is nearly here.

So, it is time to talk about what should come next in Northeast Michigan.

And it is simple.

Required civics education by the end of high school.

I grew up in Flint, Michigan. When I was in ninth grade at Zimmerman Junior High School, civics was a required yearlong course. What I learned that year has stood me in good stead. It prepared me to be an active citizen my entire life.

Why do we need to require civics here? Because our local participatory democracy is on 0life support.

Some offices have NO candidates. Many candidates run unopposed. If there are not at least two people running for each position on the ballot there is no public civic conversation about candidate qualifications or what the candidate plans to do in office. When that happens, there is little likelihood of progress (coming from Flint, I know what shunning progress does to a community).

One way to fix this problem is education. After learning to read, write, do basic arithmetic, and cook, no skill set is more important during the course of one’s life in a democracy than knowing how the government works and participating in shaping that government.

RACHEL GOODSTEIN,

Rogers City

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