A Time of Transition
My name is Roneka Matheny, and I am 35 years old. I have been an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at a small Southern college for six of the last ten years. Well, not anymore ... I just quit my job to help save America!
I started a blog called Citizenship 101 in January of 2017 as a desperate attempt to find order in the chaos that followed the last Presidential Election. As a Political Science professor and an election worker, I have personally witnessed the profound lack of political education among the general American public. The public I’m talking about includes the poor and uneducated, but it also includes folks with professional degrees and high paying jobs. It really doesn’t matter who or where you are in America, people are woefully uninformed about our nation’s history and the structure and functions of our government. Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno created a recurring segment on his show about it!
When I started the blog, I hadn’t taught in years, and to be honest, I missed it. So much so that I originally intended for the blog to be a virtual version of the kind of Political Science class I wished I could teach. After writing the first few entries, however, the gravity of the problem really began to sink in. I reasoned that if America’s problem was really a widespread lack of political education, then writing a blog about how bad the problem was wasn’t going to help. I realized that I was one of a small group of people qualified to teach Political Science courses. That meant that I had the power to make a real difference. For goodness sake, I needed to get off of the sidelines, get back into the classroom, and teach as many students as possible!
That’s exactly what I did, and over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of introducing hundreds of students at the College of Charleston to the way that the American government works. I provided them with context and history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Imagine coming of age and trying to learn about politics at a time of incredible polarization and instability. Imagine not knowing which news sources, if any, can be trusted to provide you with factual information. Well, it was my job to take my students by the hand and guide them through all of that mess; to teach them the facts and help them develop a healthy understanding of their government. In a nation of 300 million people, the hundreds of students I taught aren’t much, but you can’t fill a bucket without the first few drops!
After a while, though, I began to feel that this was all that I was accomplishing—drops in a bucket. I needed to find a way to teach MILLIONS of people, not hundreds...
I quietly got my affairs in order and prepared to leave the College of Charleston. I filed the paperwork necessary to make Citizenship 101 a nonprofit organization, and I began the initial stages of designing and creating a self-directed, digital American Government course. Read about the details of my proposal on the About Us page, and let me know what you think on the Contact Us page!
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