Letters to the Editor: ‘Truth decay’ proves how badly our schools need better civics education

A QAnon supporter waits to enter a Trump rally
A supporter of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory waits to enter a campaign rally for President Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 2018.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: I appreciate your op-ed article about the incoming Biden administration’s need to combat “truth decay.”

I taught middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District and saw the harm that the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind law did to instruction in history and all the social sciences. Teachers were blasted with demands to focus on English, reading and math.

The resulting deprioritizing of history and civics education has helped bring about a generation that is incapable of telling fact from fiction.


All subjects are important, so history and civics must not be diminished. The obvious need for better instruction in the social sciences is more important than ever.

David Dillard, Los Angeles


To the editor: Michael Rich’s and Jennifer Kavanagh’s proposals to stop truth decay are meager.

The segment of the population they wish to reach subscribes to a libertarian populism characterized by resentment of government paternalism, hostility to over-educated and condescending coastal elites, and discomfort with diversity and foreign immigration. Amazingly enough, Rich and Kavanaugh seek to combat this populism through a multicultural technocracy aided by elite-run state education.

While I have little idea how to engage with President Trump’s America, I am sure it is not by offending every ideological bone in their bodies.

Personally, I think we would be better off examining the corrosive effects of social media and cable TV programming as well as identifying the economic trends that have hollowed out rural and blue-collar America.

Michael L. McLendon, South Pasadena


The writer is a professor of political science at Cal State Los Angeles.


To the editor: Rich and Kavanagh recommend ways to rebuild the public’s trust in government. I have another suggestion.

When Trump leaves the White House, the media must ignore him so his message becomes irrelevant. Then the Republican Party, with people like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, can rebuild to become an acceptable alternative to the Democratic Party.

As a Democrat, I believe we need a strong two-party system and not one headed by a dishonest cult leader.

Claire Marmion, Long Beach