Through the Education Lens

Richard Dreyfuss: "We have mis-educated our children so badly"

CJ Westerberg, December 10, 2011 10:51 AM


Update June 10, 2011 - Dreyfuss "reads" iTunes User License Agreement - check it out

Update June 10, 2011 - Dreyfuss announces "major" new civics initiatives - "The first annual American History Play Competition (AHPC). The AHCP will award $350,000 to playwrights and theater companies for an original play that focuses on an event, person, or place in American history. . . "

"We live in a simmer of hysteria"
            "Morning Joe" Video Below

by C.J. Westerberg

Watch Richard Dreyfuss in a decidedly provocative segment on today's MSNBC "Morning Joe" with Mika Brzezinski, Pat Buchanan, Willie Geist and Mike Barnicle.  Video below.  Skip to 3:20 mark to miss the initial bantering between Dreyfuss and Buchanan.

"When incivility becomes the norm, which it is,
you are you withdrawing the oxygen from the atmosphere of any representative democracy, and you don't share anything." 

While the topic of his visit - civics education in this country - is important and controversial in its own right,  Dreyfuss, by his very nature,  always adds an edgy perspective.  Along with the proceeds of the book, "America, the Beautiful" celebrating American culture, the Dreyfuss Initiative will be contributing to civics education in America.

 Dreyfuss rails against our country's "partisan- addiction", fueled by the speed of technology, which "has removed time from the important decision-making" in geo-politics.  Other topics included our lack of civility, our education system and lack of exposure to civics and history.
Two of his memorable quotes: 

"We have mis-educated our children so badly
that we are preparing them for a Fred Astaire movie"

At the 6:00 minute mark,  Dreyfuss talks about the curriculum he developed at Oxford  which by design exercises the mind stressing the ability to have  reason, logic, clarity of thought and critical analysis  allowing for opposing views, dissent, debate and ultimately, civility.
He continued to say that we have reached a point in our national conversation where we "demonize everything" from our opponents.  Later in this segment, he advises who should be
in charge of creating the research standard on the Web. . . which I can only expect will fuel yet another round in our uncivil discourse as it includes icons in the education and technology fields, such as Howard Gardner, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

"This technology is running us, not vice-versa".

Check out video below:

Posted November 30, 2010   



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  • Mary

    I agree with you Mr. Richard Dreyfuss

  • Charlene Johnson

    Today is the first time I have heard of the Dreyfuss Initiative and I am thrilled. When I was in the 8th grade everyone in our school district was required to pass a "Constitution Test", or he didn't pass the 8th grade. I thought everyone in the country was required to do this. Now I find out that we were unique. We had to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution and the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, plus have an understanding the Constitution, the amendments, how laws were made, the three branches of government and their responsibilities, the Cabinet, names and responsibilities and a basic knowledge of American History. This should be basic to any education of anyone living in this country. Here, here Mr. Dreyfuss. How can I help0?



    A national forum on the deepening crisis in our civic culture will be held on January 17. The forum will be simulcast from the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC and the Kroc Center for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego starting at 1:00 p.m. EST.

    It’s Time for a Talk; The National Conversation on Revitalizing America's Civic Culture brings together leaders from across the political spectrum to review the current civics crisis and the loss of decorum and civility in our public processes.

    “When those who serve our nation, and citizens participating in open public processes, are gunned down we have to take action”, stated Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award winning actor and President of The Dreyfuss Initiative. “The January 17 forum will review a crisis that was years in the making and seek solutions for moving America back from the brink.”

    The panel will include John Fund [WSJ], Bob Edgar [President, Common Cause], Roy Romer [Former Governor & School Superintendent], Admiral Bruce Boland [ret], Frank Luntz [Pollster], Rick Shenkman [VoteIQ], and Diane Ravitch [commentator].

    Richard Dreyfuss will make opening remarks. Scot Faulkner [former CAO of the House of Representatives] will moderate the event.

    For more information visit:

    Coverage of the event and media availability of panelists before and after the event should be arranged with:

    San Diego: Eva M. Stimson, EMS MC, Inc.,

    828/832-8297, 858/864-8536 (mobile),

    Washington, DC: Scot Faulkner, Executive Director, The Dreyfuss Initiative

    304-535-2757, 703-598-5548 (mobile),

  • Meri Burritt

    I couldn't have explained the topic better myself.

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