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Legislatures look at Civics Education.

The American public believes that educating young people about our system of democracy should be a central mission of schools, according to a 2004 survey by several organizations. However, most feel public schools are not fulfilling this mission. Nine states are looking at how they can improve civic education through commissions created by the legislature.

The Rhode Island Permanent Civic Education Commission, which has been in existence for a number of years, sponsored the second annual state civic education summit last May. It was a forum for the commission and the Department of Education to collect ideas for the development of statewide civics grade-level standards, required by legislation passed in 2005. Fifty high school students from around the state participated and contributed their ideas.

The Vermont Legislature created the Council on Civics Education in 2006. The council plans to assess civics education in schools and colleges, recommend ways to improve it and encourage civics coordination services at the capitol. It will also create an inventory of opportunities to participate in civics, and recommend best practices in civics education. The council will build a network of civics education professionals, and help ensure quality civics education at all levels, including college. Members of the council will include educators and members of civics organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the bar association. Legislators serving on the education committees may attend council meetings as nonvoting members.

Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia have established similar commissions or councils to examine civic education. A number of states also have created civic education coalitions without legislation.
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Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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