I usually disagree with the liberal/progressive content of most of your newspaper’s editorial commentaries. But I gladly applaud your Dec. 27 publication of a syndicated column by Christopher Dale that examined the urgent need for more thorough education in the functions of democratic government and principles of civics for our students in the primary and secondary grades of public schooling.

Mr. Dale astutely describes the woeful lack of academic instruction in the social sciences that is reflected in the curricula of most of our public schools nowadays. This is the equivalent of educational malpractice, because it constitutes the failure of our school institutions to properly inform our students about the fundamental structure and workings of our American democracy.

The sad result is that most of our students graduating from public high schools have very little understanding of the constructive actions they can pursue to protect and further the freedoms and opportunities that our American community was designed to offer to all of us.

Some of us are fortunate to live in communities that strongly support independent authority for our school officials, who in turn can properly address such needs in the curricula which they oversee. Elsewhere, I hope the parents of Maine’s school-aged children can find the time and resources to bring these concerns to the attention of their local school boards. And, in some communities, the establishment and support of school-choice alternatives such as charter schools might provide a solution to this educational need.

James Clingensmith