‘Agency’: an important new book about America – AMAC

Author Ian Rowe – Photo courtesy of Young America’s Foundation

The Gallup polling organization seems to be constantly broadcasting dark news about what Americans think about God and their country.

I wrote recently about their report on the historically low percentage of Americans who say they believe in God.

Now Gallup reports that a historic low number of Americans believe in us and our country.

The percentage of Americans who now say, according to Gallup, that they are “extremely proud” of their country is at an all-time low of 38%.

And the average percentage, 27%, of Americans who trust our great institutions is at an all-time low.

Inflation, slow growth and weekly reports of unnecessary violence inspire neither good feelings nor confidence.

But the good news is that we can still speak freely and express ourselves. Often it takes courage to publicly say what you see and feel is wrong. But you can do it.

We have a wonderful example in a new book by American Enterprise Institute researcher Ian Rowe, “Agency: The Four Point Plan (FREE) for All Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power.”

Rowe is well placed to speak about our country, what works and what the problems are, as the son of Jamaican immigrants who struggled to make their sons “succeed” in America.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Cornell University, and a degree in Electrical Engineering from Brooklyn Technical High School. He is now a senior fellow, focusing on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption, at one of Washington’s leading policy institutes.

He is also an education entrepreneur who was just featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Rowe is the co-founder and CEO of Vertex Partnership Academies, which has been hired to launch and manage a new charter high school in the Bronx that will provide educational opportunities for mostly black and Hispanic students from low-income families.

According to the WSJ profile, in the local school district where the school is being launched, only 7% of students, just 4% of black students, entering ninth grade are ready for college four years later.

However, Rowe and Vertex are being sued by the United Federation of Teachers. The teachers’ union says the school is a new school, rather than an extension of an existing network, and new charters are banned in New York.

Given Rowe’s extensive and successful track record in running charter schools and the dismal performance of public schools in that district, this lawsuit is a sad commentary that improving education for young people is not a priority for the United Federation of Teachers.

Rowe’s central thesis in his new book “Agency” is that our national discourse is terribly polarized and flawed.

On the one hand, it is up to individuals, through strength of character and willpower, to take personal responsibility for overcoming challenges and obstacles to succeed and move forward.

The other side, which Rowe calls the “blame the system” perspective, argues that institutional barriers, rooted in racism and class, are insurmountable even for the most motivated and well-intentioned.

Rowe argues that both lack a crucial key element in human reality, which he calls “agency”. Agency rests with the intermediary institutions that provide the framework that enables and releases “morally informed agency” in individuals.

He calls this intermediary enabling FREE reality — Family, Religion, Education and Entrepreneurship.

These elements are developed and explained throughout this wonderful and important book.

In my own work, I focus on what I call the three Cs – Christianity, Capitalism and the Constitution.

My focus on the Constitution encourages the interpretation of the Constitution to limit government, as the Founders intended, so that the power of government does not compete with what Rowe calls “agency.”

Ian Rowe brings a new critical perspective to our national discourse. Those who care about our nation should read “Agency” for important information about fixing our culture.

Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “Cure America with Star Parker.”


You can buy Ian Rowe’s ‘Agency’ here

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Andrew B. Reiter