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Civic Education and the Common Core

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The implementation of the Common Core State Standards represents a tremendous opportunity to rethink educational priorities and promote civic education. However, Web Hutchins, writing for Education Week, argues that the current version of the standards almost entirely neglect to address civics, leaving students unprepared to engage in our democracy.

Hutchins argues that civic education, which can combine the study of citizenship, government, ethics, and politics, is perfect for the Common Core because it connects subjects and emphasizes evidence-based claims. Civic education is critical, Hutchins maintains: “It engages and empowers struggling learners—especially hard-to-teach boys—because it is verbal, current, and contentious.”

But in a review of the Common Core standards document for English/language arts, Hutchins found that the word “civics” did not appear once. Hutchins says that the old adage of “not tested, not taught” may further derail civic education, with NAEP suspending civics testing for 12th graders indefinitely and the Common Core failing to address the field.

For more on the importance of civic education, review the research from our “Civics 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation” project.