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Citizenship and civic education in the news

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

A round-up of citizenship and civic education happenings:

  • The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has released a new report: “The Engaged Citizen Index: Examining the Racial and Ethnic Civic and Political Engagement of Young Adults.” In the report, authors Rebecca Jacobsen and Tamara Wilder Linkow “construct a composite index of engaged citizenship indicators for young adults that incorporates 40 variables weighted to the input of a panel of experts.” The result? “Significant racial and ethnic gaps in young adult civic and political participation.” Hispanics, the report notes, have become the least engaged group among young adults (42.5% “engaged”). The gaps between go beyond actual engagement, though, with the largest variance being found in civic and political knowledge. Read the full report here.
  • Need an example of bad citizenship? Slate’s Joel Warner writes about his effort to use jury-selection science to get out of jury duty: “I recently received a jury-duty letter, a notice that inspired me to learn everything I could about the science of jury selection. I could say this was because I’m naturally inquisitive, but the truth is I’m a bad citizen who wanted to get out of jury duty. I was hunting for tell-tale signs of bad jurors so I’d know exactly how to act during jury selection to ensure no one would want me meting out justice anytime soon.” Despite the hook, Warner takes a serious look at the role of science in jury selection and its implications for citizenship and fair juries.
  • Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy held a hearing on H.R. 2268, which proposes “to amend title 5, United States Code, to provide that Washington’s Birthday be observed on February 22 [the day of his actual birth], rather than the third Monday in February, of each year.” The What So Proudly We Hail blog has more here.