Towards a Rebirth for Civics

By Clark, Todd | Social Studies Review, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Towards a Rebirth for Civics


Clark, Todd, Social Studies Review


California's highly regarded framework of instruction for history-social science describes knowledge and cultural understanding, democratic understanding, and civic values and skills attainment and social participation as the three broad goals of history-social science in the curriculum. Even so, large numbers of our students are not well prepared for effective citizenship. In a recent survey of graduating seniors, conducted by the California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, one half of the sample could not correctly identify the function of the Supreme Court, and 33% could not correctly identify even one of California's two senators from a list of options. Less than half agreed, "Being actively involved in state and local issues is my responsibility." Especially disturbing was that these 12th graders had recently completed a course in U.S. government during their senior year.

The emphasis the framework gives to the goals of promoting student understanding and preparation for participation in our democracy is very clear. However, if you were to begin to examine the framework with its course descriptions, it would be easy to miss the point that preparation of young people for citizenship is a key reason history-social science is part of the curriculum. There are, of course, standards at nearly every grade level that deal with civic outcomes. However, there is no clearly developed civics strand that would assure that young people are prepared to participate effectively in our democracy or make informed decisions regarding civic life. Neither does California have a commitment to provide staff development for teachers to help them achieve this result.

In 2001, the Center for Civic Education was funded by the state to develop the California Civic Education Scope & Sequence. Developed with broad input from practitioners, the Scope & Sequence is keyed to the History-Social Science Framework and Standards. This publication, which has been distributed since 2003, is an outstanding guide for teachers, showing how civic education can be introduced at each grade level. It includes sample classroom applications and resources, which are both practical and specific. This scope and sequence is a great resource and could serve as the basis for a revival of civic education in our schools. However, a scope and sequence can change practice only if it is used as a guide for widespread professional development. Without that vital link, connecting the book and the teacher, this terrific guide will have little impact on how we teach.

At about the same time the Scope & Sequence was being developed in California, Cynthia Gibson, a senior program officer at The Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland began a study of the growing disengagement of American citizens from civic life. In seeking solutions to the problem, she and her colleagues concluded that, "one of the most promising approaches to increase young people's informed engagement is school-based civic education." (Civic Mission of Schools, 2003)

In an effort to determine what form school based programs should take, Carnegie and CIRCLE convened the top scholars and practitioners in the field to identify effective practices for school programs. According to their report, The Civic Mission of Schools, this group, "representing a diversity of political views, a variety of disciplines and various approaches...disagree about some aspects of how civic education should be conducted, but nevertheless share a common vision of a richer, more comprehensive approach to civic education in the United States."

Among a wide range of suggestions, the report recommended six research-based practices as elements of an effective civic education program. (The full report can be found at www.civicmissionofschools.org.)

The six recommendations focus on classroom practice, extra-curricular activities, and linking schools with the community. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Towards a Rebirth for Civics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.