CIRCLE Endorses Robust Civic Education that Goes Beyond a Test
We recently wrote about the new legislation in Arizona and North Dakota requiring that students pass the U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate high school. Our research and experience with high-quality civic education suggests that these measures may actually hurt efforts to educate informed and engaged citizens.
We have previously shown that nearly every state in America already requires civics, and many test it with a high-stakes assessment. What is missing from civic education is depth: courses, exams, and curricula that teach important civic skills and promote engaging with issues and with communities.
If passing the U.S. citizenship test—an easy exam of historical facts—becomes synonymous with success in civics, it could detract from efforts to truly improve civic education.
New Report on Civic Education and Deeper Learning
In early February, the national nonprofit Jobs for the Future released “Civic Education and Deeper Learning,” a report written by CIRCLE Director Peter Levine and Deputy Director Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg.
The authors argue that stronger civic education should be a fundamental part of “deeper learning,” which emphasizes the development of skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and self-directed learning. The report also discusses some of the ways that effective civic education can be embedded across the curriculum.
Levine and Kawashima-Ginsberg also published a related policy bulletin that outlines ways policymakers can improve civics assessment, curricula, and professional development.
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|CIRCLE in the News
In recent weeks, CIRCLE research, analysis, and commentary has been featured in various media:
– USA Today: “Good citizenship transcends a test: Opposing view“
– US News: “Millennials Are Ready to Turn Out for Hillary in 2016, Survey Finds“
-Washington Blade: “Republicans ignore youth vote at their peril“
– KQED Radio: “Why Don’t Young People Vote?“
2015 Summer Institute of Civic Studies and Frontiers
Applications are open for the 2015 Summer Institute of Civic Studies, to be held at Tufts University on June 15-27. Co-taught by CIRCLE Director Peter Levine, the Summer Institute is an intensive, two-week seminar with academics and practitioners from diverse fields to discuss fundamental questions like: What should citizens know, believe, and do?
The Institute is followed by Frontiers of Democracy 2015, a public conference that tackles both theoretical and practical issues related to civic engagement.