Civics Education More
Than Just a Class
from: Education Commission of the States
According to James P. Comer, director of the Yale University Child Study Center School Development Program, the purpose of public schools is "...to prepare students to become successful workers, family members and citizens in a democratic society...." But in this day and age of wide-sweeping reforms, like No Child Left Behind (NCLB), are schools getting farther and farther away from this goal?
"Schools are being forced to focus on what's tested versus what's important, and the civic soul of public education is being further eroded," said Terry Pickeral, executive director, National Center for Learning and Citizenship. "To remedy this, education must include a very serious civic component...one that promotes adhering to a set of civic-minded values and acting upon those values...one that doesn't just teach 'civics,' but strives to develop engaged citizens."
Working toward this remedy, 80 state legislators, state and district education leaders, teachers, university and college presidents, and students will meet in Denver, July 16-17, at the Education Leadership Colloquium (ELC). The ELC is co-sponsored by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 900 college and university presidents committed to the civic purposes of higher education. ELC participants will focus on:
-- What qualities should civically educated students possess?
-- What kind of education designs, including curriculum, teaching methods, school and community partnerships, and education policies, support the development of these qualities?
-- What actions must take place at the system level to establish and support these designs?
"Developing civic-minded students by providing 'civics' coursework is important and fundamental to their knowledge of our democracy," said Elizabeth Hollander, Campus Compact executive director. "And preparing students for their future civic roles through service-learning enables them to apply that civic knowledge in a world where civic skills are increasingly critical. The health of our democratic society depends on it."
The ELC follows on the heels of The 2003 National Forum on Education Policy, being held July 13-16, where 500 governors, state legislators, state higher education decision makers, business leaders and others will share their best thinking and strategies on subjects ranging from how to implement NCLB to how to fund schools in tight economic times to how teachers should be prepared. Citizenship and service-learning also will be discussed:
-- Learning That Lasts: How Service-Learning Can Become an Integral Part of Schools, States and Communities on Monday, July 14
-- Whatever Happened to Citizenship Education? on Tuesday July 15.
NOTICE TO THE MEDIA: To receive more information about the ELC, contact Susan Vermeer, NCLC project manager, at 303.299.3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Campus Compact Web site at www.compact.org.
To receive a complete National Forum meeting agenda, register for the meeting, review the list of participants or schedule interviews with participants, contact Kim Sharpe, ECS public relations officer, at 303.299.3680 or email@example.com. Also visit the ECS Web site (www.ecs.org) for more information about ECS and The 2003 National Forum.
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a national, nonprofit organization that helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement public policies to improve student learning at all levels. A nonpartisan organization, ECS was formed in 1965 and is located in Denver, Colorado.
Contact: Kim Sharpe, 303.299.3680
ECS (Education Commission of the States) Web site: www.ecs.org