Take 5 Minutes to Support Civic Education

Jul 11, 2014 / Announcements
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Please cast your vote for federal support for civic education now. We need your support. It can take as little as five minutes! Here is the situation.

The U.S. Department of Education has published its draft priorities for discretionary grant programs for next year and has invited public comment. The draft includes 15 priorities and does not include civic education. To read the department’s priorities please go to http://www.regulations.gov/#%21documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001 and scroll down the page.

On the upper-right-hand corner of the page you will see the words “Comment Now.” Please enter a comment before the deadline of July 24 urging the Department of Education to include civic education as a priority. Please do this ASAP and urge others to do the same. It might be particularly helpful to get organizations and people in prominent positions to add their comments, but every “vote” counts.

Suggested approaches

1. Single sentence. For those of you pressed for time, even a single sentence entered in the comments section can make a difference. For example, you could enter, “Please provide support for civic education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights among your priorities.” Visit http://www.regulations.gov/#%21documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001 click on “Comment Now” in the upper-right-hand corner of the page, and enter your sentence.

2. Paragraph or more. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#%21documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001 and click on “Comment Now” in the upper-right-hand corner of the page. Enter a paragraph or more stating and justifying your position. If you need ideas, you can take them from the paragraph below.

3. Endorse the Center’s statement. Simply cut and paste the following statement in the “Comment Now” section in the upper-right-hand corner of the page at http://www.regulations.gov/#%21documentDetail;D=ED-2013-OII-0146-0001.

I endorse the following statement made by Charles N. Quigley of the Center for Civic Education.

I was pleased to see the excellent proposed priorities but disturbed to see the lack of attention to civics and government. I hope that you will include a priority for civics and government similar to the proposed priority for the STEM subjects or a priority for all of those core subjects in the authorizing legislation that are not STEM subjects. We certainly need attention to STEM subjects. We also need a balanced curriculum, which is too often not the case in many of our schools due to a large degree upon the emphasis on STEM subjects as well as English language arts and related testing.

I recognize that programs in civics and government might be supported under some of the proposed priorities. However, I think the importance of the subject justifies specific mention either alone or, as noted above, with other core subjects not included in STEM.

Past reports by the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) confirm that most of our students are not receiving an adequate grounding in civics and government. The NAEP findings are consistent with other reports and surveys documenting a widespread lack of knowledge of politics and government, apathy, alienation, and low levels of participation.

The United States Senate recently recognized the importance of effective civic education in the United States by passing Senate Resolution 427. It states,  “Resolved, that it is the sense of the Senate that — (1) civic education is essential to the well-being of the constitutional government of the United States.”  A similar resolution is pending in the House of Representatives. Such important statements by Congress should be recognized by the Department in setting its educational priorities.

The current well-recognized weaknesses in the operation of our political system clearly point to an urgent need to focus upon the role of our schools in preparing young people to become competent and responsible participants in the system. This is needed not only to perpetuate the system, but to foster the extent of informed civic engagement required to bring about the many obviously needed improvements in the system.

I hope that ED will consider this recommendation seriously and favorably. I would be pleased to provide more extensive justification and more specific recommendations if it would help.

Please help now!

The more support provided by you and others, the greater the chances we can have an impact on the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. Your comments will be a part of the public record and immediately accessible for all to see at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketBrowser;rpp=25;po=0;D=ED-2013-OII-0146.

Please be sure to complete the form after you have made your comment by clicking on the “Continue” button on the lower part of the screen and providing the required information until you get a confirmation.

Please make your voice heard now!

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