Vivek Ramaswamy paid yet another visit to Pottawattamie county on Wednesday evening, his third visit in as many weeks. He was joined both by his wife Apoorva and friend Adam Greenberg, a former MLB ballplayer with the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins.
This was the fifth time I’d seen Vivek in person, and I’d gotten to ask him questions previously about spiritual unity in America and the possibility of Donald Trump being sent to prison. This time, I had a more personal question — what subjects and knowledge did Vivek think were most important for kids to learn in K12 education, particularly as a successful entrepreneur and father of tow young children himself. Here’s his answer:
I think a lot about what our educational system has become and where those gaps are. I kind of divide it up into probably three categories.
One is throughout your entire education what actually teaches you how to think. not what to think, but how to think, giving you the toolkit for that. and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They can learn that from our founding fathers — what they learned from. Our founding fathers weren’t necessarily the original theorists. They studied everybody from Leibniz to Locke to the Renaissance thinkers who actually taught us how to think, put pressure on how to actually do basic math, do basic arithmetic, do basic logic. That’s one category.
The second category though, would be understanding at every age what gives them their self-confidence at an early age. you’ve got to be able to learn something and succeed at it. That’s part of what we’ve lost in our country is our national self-confidence, the basics of Reading Writing arithmetic. This is part of what gives us our basic understanding of how we consume knowledge in the world, give us that self-confidence back.
But then the most important part they’re not getting from our Public Schools is civic education. I think every kid should understand what are the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. what are the principles enshrined in the Constitution. I think every kid in this country is missing that. Personally, I believe that by the time your kids graduate from high school, for your older one in about six years, I think every one of those kids should be able to pass the same Civics test that every immigrant has to pass in order to become a voting citizen of this country. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. There was a 10-year-old girl in Iowa who came to one of our events. She’s being homeschooled now. she had heard me offer that proposal. She took it as a challenge. She printed out the 100-question Civics test. 60% is a passing score most adults would fail it today. she at the age of 10 showed me that she got 100 out of 100 on that Civics test, and I was proud of her for it. … I think that starts at a young age, knowing what our country is. I think what our school system is messing up is, they’ll tell us about systemic racism in the country, being founded in 1619. maybe you can teach a college kid about those alternative points of view. Maybe you can teach a kid who’s in 11th or 12th grade about those alternative points of view. but you’ve got to start with the basics of what the country was founded on in the first place.
And so I think that anything that allows our students to achieve, focus on achievement, rather than indoctrination teaching you how to think — math writing, reading, the basics — but supplement that with basic civic education, and let them start reading what our own founding fathers read in leading up to the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson wrote at the age of 33. That’s what I would say is a pretty good place to start. and I say that as a father who’s thinking about the education of our two sons as well.