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This week in civic education

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

By Timothy Maller

A roundup of recent happenings in civic education:

  • Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon, in a speech at the fifth annual Oregon Civics Conference, and Michelle M. Herczog, in a CNN blog post, both emphasized the importance of civics and social studies education in preparing young Americans to face the challenges of the future and maintain the vitality of our republic.
  • An article in Education Week highlights a debate between social studies advocates and proponents of the Common Core content standards in math and language arts.  Supporters of the Common Core believe that its interdisciplinary approach will benefit math and language arts instruction as well as the social studies, while critics claim that it only increases the emphasis on these subjects at the expense of the social studies curriculum.  Dana Goldstein and the Baltimore Sun also weigh in on the subject, both showing a cautious optimism regarding the Common Core and its relation to social studies instruction.
  • Civics?  There’s an app for that.  Following the trend of creating more interactive, web-based instruction for millennial learners, Pearson displayed their collection of social studies educational apps at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference this past week.  Likewise, McGraw-Hill used the conference to demonstrate their Education’s Networks, “a groundbreaking multimedia social studies learning system that brings history to life for middle and high school students.”
  • A fascinating article by Taiwan’s China Post highlights a discrepancy between the aims of the country’s civic education program and the values of its digital-age students.  As we’ve stated before, worry about the decline in civic education is hardly exclusive to the United States, and Americans can learn from foreign examples such as these.

Timothy Maller is an intern with the AEI Program on American Citizenship.