How 3 States Are Digging In on Civics Education

Jul 2, 2019 by

By Stephen Sawchuk –

What can states do to develop better citizens? CivXNow, a coalition of some 90 organizations spearheaded by the online curriculum group iCivics, has some ideas. The group recently unveiled a policy menu: Revise social science standards to prioritize civics. Align tests to them. Improve teacher training. Give youth a voice at schools and in local government.

K-12 education has been down this road before, without a lot of progress to show for it. An early-2000s push organized by many of the same players did not dramatically change the landscape.

What’s different from before, the coalition says, is the context. There are now success stories from states that have pioneered new civics education laws. There’s a research base on civics education that, while young, is increasingly robust. Finally, there is public recognition that something has gone deeply wrong in the state of American civil discourse, and that schools play some role in mitigating it.

Indeed, there are some signs of a legislative appetite for additional reforms. More than 80 pieces of civics education legislation were introduced across 30-odd states in the 2018-19 legislative session, according to Ted McConnell, the executive director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, one of the CivXNow coalition members. And last year, the National Conference of State Legislatures counted nearly 115 civics education-related bills.

Getting the best ideas to the finish line is another story.

Source: How 3 States Are Digging In on Civics Education – Education Week

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