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Civic engagement: sounds great in theory, but ...

Sixth-grade students (from left) Armani Teran, Bryan Moss, and Nolan Haynes gathered at the South Elementary School in Holbrook for their weekly civics club meeting in May 2017. The club's topic was the withholding of recess as punishment for missing homework, makeup work, or for behavior issues.Debee Tlumacki

In “How to raise a generation of better citizens” (Opinion, Sept. 19), Kaylene Stevens argues that students need to learn both “the skills for essential, innovative jobs” and how to “actively engage in their communities and government.”

She illustrates those latter skills with protests to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day and support for local chapters of Black Lives Matter.

But surely having the skills to actively engage can be used for any ends, not just those that Stevens might happen to agree with. After all, most autocrats rose to power using their skills to actively engage in their communities and government.


Who will separate the wheat from the chaff?

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island, Maine