Center in the News
  • Editorial: Students need civic education
    When it comes to knowing about their country and its system of government, many native-born American citizens know less than an immigrant who has just become a naturalized citizen. Never mind the accent and the lack of a family tree that shows ancestors going back to the Revolutionary War, that newly minted citizen can run circles around many Americans when it comes to knowing simple facts about American history and government. Three former South Carolina governors joined a number of statewide business leaders last month in announcing the South Carolina Civics Education Initiative. This is a forward-thinking plan that seeks to ensure high school students know at least as much about U.S. civics as an immigrant who just became a naturalized citizen. “Civic education is extremely important to all of us,” former Gov. Dick Riley, who also served as U.S. Secretary of Education for President Bill Clinton, said in a conference call with reporters and editors.

  • Long Beach, MS students who pushed for sidewalk project finally see its comp - - The News for South Mississippi
    It was the last step in a project that took seven years to build. City engineers and transportation officials did a final walk through to inspect the newly-finished sidewalk on Commission Road. The battle to build the concrete pathway didn't start with any government official or community leader. It was actually a group of students that spearheaded the project. "I'm very amazed," said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie. It all began when the Long Beach High seniors were in the fifth grade at Quarles Elementary School. As part of their "Project Citizen" assignment, the gifted class had to identify a problem in the community. The students decided to target childhood obesity. "When you are a kid, you think you don't really have a voice. You can't make a change. And when we researched that the biggest problem in Mississippi was obesity, and especially its high rate of obesity, so we tried to come up with a solution," said Long Beach High Senior Jackie Rojas.

  • Americans’ grasp on civic knowledge is shaky at best, study finds - Editorials - The Boston Globe
    The fundamentals of American civics are not dispensable frills. Citizens who don’t understand how laws are made or which powers the president wields can’t fully participate in our democracy. While the amount of information and commentary about public affairs has exploded, that’s no substitute for formal education about government and civic life.In a recent survey released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 35 percent of respondents were unable to name even one branch of the federal government; only 36 percent could identify all three. Alarmed by such findings, the Annenberg Center and 25 other organizations have formed the Civics Renewal Network. The Center for Civic Education is one of the constituent organizations. The goal of the coalition is to raise the profile of civic education.

  • Rhodes Elementary community celebrates successes - Cranston Herald
    The Rhodes Elementary School community gathered together last Friday, along with some very special guests, for this year’s first all-school assembly celebrating the achievements of many among them. Joining the staff and students were Superintendent Dr. Judith Lundsten and Project Citizen’s Michael Trofi and Carlos Gamba. Both Trofi and Gamba joined the celebration to help honor last year’s fifth-graders, now in the sixth grade, who participated in Theresa Manera and James Gemma’s whole-class Project Citizen projects. Both classes entered their projects into the statewide competition last June, tied for first place and were then entered into the national competition over the summer. At the national competition, both classes’ projects ranked near the top, with Manera’s class ranking in the “excellent” category and Gemma’s class ranking in the “superior” category.

  • Centre for Civic Education Pakistan Launches Nationwide Civic Education Advocacy Campaign
    On International Day of Democracy 2014 the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan, the Center's Civitas International Programs partner in Pakistan, launched a nationwide advocacy campaign for inclusion of democratic civic education in textbooks.

  • Herald exclusive: Pakistan’s experience with democracy - Pakistan
    Zafarullah Khan, a prominent Pakistani civic education leader, posted an interesting article in which he cites experience with democracy in Pakistan. He cites three "myths" about Pakistani democracy: Myth 1 — the Presidential system is more suitable than the messy parliamentary architecture; Myth 2 — The Constitution does not address core critical issues and does not offer bread and butter assistance; and Myth 3 — The Peoples’ part of the Constitution – fundamental rights and the Principles of Policy (Article 8-40) – has never been implemented.

  • Freedom of speech is here to stay thanks to the U.S. Constitution : Highland News
    Wednesday, schools across the region will take some time to learn about how our Constitution affects us now and how we came to this unique structure. I say unique because, 200 years in, we represent that last best hope for humanity, a nation that rules from the bottom up. After a lifetime of studying history, I return to the best thing that ever happened in my understanding of the founding of our nation - amazing work done every year by students given the opportunity to learn and apply their knowledge about our Constitution and Bill of Rights. "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" has been a part of the education fabric in Northwest Indiana since the late 1980s, teaching students about the Constitution in a challenging way. The program is not a series of dry lectures, but a chance for students to draw on their research of the Constitutional Convention and two centuries of court cases to bring their expertise to bear on contemporary issues.

  • Educators Need to Renew Focus on Civic Education | San Jose Inside
    Joseph Di Salvo writes about Senator Feinstein’s recent “fireside chat” on a number of pressing topics. Among the topics was Senator Feinstein’s concern about the need to renew the schools’ focus on civic education. Feinstein told the room that when she hosts a group of students in Washington, DC she is appalled at the lack of information they have about their own government. For Mr.Di Salvo this is a "crisis as threatening to the future of democracy as jihadists and cyber attacks. Just as the President will address the nation about a strategy to defeat ISIS, he should call for a plan to address the dearth of civics literacy among our K-12 students." He wrote affectionately about Norma Wright, who worked with the Center For Civic Education in Calabasas, Calif., and promoted the importance of teaching especially at-risk youth the importance of law-related education. Learning about the way the government and legal system work give children opportunity and skills to succeed in life.

  • The voter turnout conundrum in L.A. - LA Times
    It's one of the worst ideas we've heard in a long time: Last week, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission floated a plan to offer cash prizes as an incentive to get Angelenos to vote in local elections. Sheer desperation, as far as we can tell, led the commission to propose an election day lottery, with a jackpot of $1,000 or more that might persuade more registered voters to go to the polls. Would it work? Probably. But it's still a bad idea. L.A. is certainly not the only city that suffers from low participation in local elections. But here, as elsewhere, reviving civic engagement may require big changes in how residents are educated and representatives are chosen. Here are some ways to start: Teach civics in schools. Most CA students take one American government class that is more focused on the federal system and on memorization of facts, rather than on what it means to be a citizen. Less than half of high school seniors feel a responsibility to be involved in state and local issues.

  • Margaret Branson Honored by PEO International
    Center for Civic Education's Associate Director Margaret Branson is being honored by the service organization PEO International as a "Champion for Education." On page 17 of the PEO Record is an article attesting to her many extraordinary qualities. "She has shared her gifts of wisdom, experience and dedication with leaders of states, governments and nations. Margaret has an incredible depth of understanding of worldwide human rights catastrophes and celebrations. When home, she blesses her (community) with yearly programs that give us insight into her realm and made us feel important in her lifelong journey of love and giving. Margaret, our Golden Girl, has taught us that in the current, dramatic demands for freedom throughout the world, there is no more important task than the development of an informed, effective and responsible citizenry."