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Song of a Citizen

The “Song of a Citizen” project isn’t especially new, but it’s one we were unaware of until reading this post on citizenship and civic responsibility over at the Besette Pitney American Government and Politics blog.


Volunteering rate reaches five-year high

According to the new “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report issued yesterday by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), Americans volunteered in 2011 at significantly higher levels than in 2010, with the national volunteer rate reaching a five-year high.


The Warrior’s Heart

At the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) website, Alice Murphy interviews Eric Greitens, author of the recently-released book The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage. The book is an adaptation of Greiten’s previous book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL, but is aimed specifically at younger readers in an attempt to equip them with the drive and resources to begin a life of volunteering and civic engagement even now as teens and young adults.


The crisis of American self-government

In the Wall Street Journal‘s weekend interview, Sohrab Ahmari sat down with Harvey Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, to discuss the “crisis of American self-government.” This year marks Mansfield’s fiftieth year teaching politics and political theory at Harvard, where he has authored such books on government and democracy as Spirit of Liberalism (1978), Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (1993), America’s Constitutional Soul (1993), and a new translation of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (2000).


The importance of civics education

The American School Board Journal has an article in its current issue about the importance of civics education, even at a time when social studies and civics classes are facing challenges in the era of “college and career” readiness. As Ted McConnell, executive director for the Civic Missions of Schools, reminds, education should be “about preparing students for college, career — and citizenship.”


Event watch: Civil society and the future of conservatism

Next Tuesday, November 27, the Hudson Institute is hosting a timely and much needed conversation about the role of the citizen and civic space in modern American politics. Here is the event description:

National Affairs magazine editor Yuval Levin, writing in the October 8, 2012 issue of The Weekly Standard, noted that this year’s presidential election seemed to have deteriorated into a contest between a “simple-minded and selfish radical individualism,” on the one hand, and “a simple-minded and dangerous radical collectivism” on the other.


Lou Frey talks citizenship

In an interview last week with Florida Today, Lou Frey, a former US Congressman and founder of the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida, discussed the importance of civic education efforts in his state. Florida is currently field-testing a new high school civics exam, which it plans to implement statewide next year, and has been leader in promoting civic education for all K-12 students.


Frederick Douglass on the importance of voting

Today, as voters across the country stand in long lines to perform their civic duty and cast their votes, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of why voting should be so important to Americans. In 1865, Frederick Douglass addressed the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in Boston and provided a robust defense of black Americans’ desire to vote. His words are worth reading again today.


Broken cities or civic renewal?

Tomorrow, Friday, October 26, the Bradley Center at the Hudson Institute is hosting a panel discussion to explore how problems in government can open the way for an active citizenry. The event, “Broken Cities or Civic Renewal?”, begins at 12:00 PM at the Institute, but can also be livestreamed here.


Redefining civic knowledge?

We have been following with great interest the release of CIRCLE’s new report that examines the standards, course requirements, and mandatory assessments related to civic education in each of the 50 states.


Education for a civil society

Writing at the Harvard Education Publishing blog, CIRCLE’s Peter Levine argues that the results of the recent CIRCLE study of each state’s civic education standards and course requirements–which we highlighted here–are not as dire as they may seem. (One such discouraging note from the study is that only eight states nationwide have statewide tests specifically in civics or American government.)


New CIRCLE research confirms: civic education lacking in most states

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has just released a report that analyzes the standards, course requirements, and mandatory assessments relevant to civic education in all 50 states.


The real problem with televised debates: The viewers

In his latest Time Ideas column, Eric Liu, author of The Gardens of Democracy, takes on what he sees as the real problem with televised presidential debates: us, the viewers. As tonight’s debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney nears (it begins at 9:00 PM EST), Liu has some advice.


Active citizenship and the presidential race

Writing at The Huffington Post, Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning (CIRCLE), makes the case for presidential candidates and political pundits to take citizenship seriously.


Civic health and unemployment II: The case builds

Last November, we covered a report by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC)–whose annual national conference, by the way, is today and can be live streamed beginning at 1:00 PM EST here–that made the case that a community’s level of civic engagement was related to its economic success. On Wednesday, NCoC released a follow up to that report: “Civic Health and Unemployment II: The Case Builds.”


Mid-week roundup

What’s happening in the citizenship world? Here’s our mid-week roundup:

  • World War II veteran Raymond Smith, age 92, finally received his high school diploma
  •  Last week, the United States military reached 2,000 dead in the Afghanistan conflict.
  •  In July, Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, posed the question: Is patriotism moral?
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    Scared straight into the voting booth

    Over at The New York Times‘s “Campaign Stops” blog, Ann Beeson, a lecturer at the University of Texas and former legal director of the ACLU, notices that many young people are very involved in different civic organizations, but that few of them actually vote.


    Building civic leaders

    A couple of months ago, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) released a report looking at the positive effects that the national YouthBuild program has in helping young people from low-income households become civic leaders. The program allows participants to work full-time for 6 to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities.


    No such thing as global citizenship

    Eric Liu has an essay in The Atlantic in which he takes on the question of what “global citizenship” actually means. His answer? There isn’t such a thing as worldwide citizenship–and “if you really want to change the world, first be a good American.”


    The Hollow Republic

    Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, has a characteristically smart essay about how the Left and the Right understand civil society and its relation to the state.