Promoting civic engagement in schools
In light of Constitution Day, and in the wake of the city's recent record-low voter turnout this week, I thought I'd share an effort that seeks to promote civic engagement in schools.
Today, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor championed an effort undertaken by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, a coalition of 40 organizations committed policies that would improve civic learning in grades K-12.
The organization released a full report with analysis and policy recommendations for civic engagement in schools. O'Connor also wrote an interesting op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer about what she called "America's civic education deficit"
In the group's policy report, they build their case on a jarring national trend: "On a recent national assessment in civics, two-thirds of all American students scored below proficient. On the same test, less than one-third of eighth graders could identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and fewer than one in five high school seniors were able to explain how citizen participation benefits democracy."
In the city, we marked a critical mayoral election this week that marked the lowest turnout numbers to date. I have always been interested in the debate about whether civic engagement is something you learn at home, or are taught in school. Either way, it's apparent that we need to do a better job of both.