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Maintaining the Republic through Civic Learning

On Tuesday, the nation marked the 226th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, writing in the Sacramento Bee, argues that in order to preserve our democracy, education needs to focus on civic learning. At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin famously remarked […]

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Civic Education and the Common Core

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.

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Civics in Tennessee

Last year, the Tennessee legislature passed a law that requires school districts in the state to test students’ civic knowledge at least once while students are in grades 4–8 and at least once while they are in grades 9–12. According to a new report released by the state’s comptroller’s office, “the legislation is significant because it is the first time the state has required an assessment for civics.” Further, the report emphasizes, this latest requirement for testing is also significant because of how it mandates that the testing take place: “(1) [the assessments] will not be standardized tests developed by vendors according to state-determined specifications, but instead are to be developed and implemented by school districts, and (2) they are required to be project-based.”

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The NAEP, civic knowledge, and student performance

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has just released two new fact sheets, both looking at the claim that today’s students are not properly prepared for citizenship once they graduate from high school. Only eight states currently test students on American government or civics, and only about a quarter of students nationwide earn a “proficient” score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics exam. This statistic is often cited as proof that more civic education is needed.

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