Research & Civic Education 2011

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What the Research Says About Teaching Government Effectively

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  • In 2002, the Carnegie Corporation of NY and CIRCLE (The Center on Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) gathered a distinguished group of the nation's most respected educational scholars, educators, and civic and governmental leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss the fact that increasing numbers of Americans are disengaging from civic and political activity. These educators shared a common vision of a richer, more comprehensive approach to civic education in the United States. The Carnegie Corporation’s The Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) report is a powerful statement of that vision.
  • Sound familiar? The CMS goals of civic education represent an opportunity to revive the original goal(s) of public education. Citizens who . . . Are informed and thoughtful and have a knowledge of history and how American democracy works. Participate in their communities and work with others to address cultural, social, and political issues. Act politically by having the skills, knowledge and commitment to accomplish public purposes – know how to navigate the system. Are socially responsible, tolerant, and believe in their capacity to make a difference.
  • 2009 Debate the contribution of civic-related education to a range of outcomes beyond political knowledge volunteering voting. Process identified outcomes of interest: media literacy, economic as well as civic knowledge, sense of social responsibility, experience in cooperating with diverse groups, and global awareness. The 1983 report A Nation at Risk - “Our nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world”. The report lamented the education system’s failures in preparing the next generation of workers with the competencies and values necessary to retain a competitive position for the United States. In the early 1990s, the Department of Labor spearheaded an initiative resulting in A SCANS Report for America 2000. SCANS (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) proposed a three-part conceptualization of skills thought to be important in the next (now, current) century.
  • The term “21 st Century Skills” was initially proposed by the Partnership for 21 st Century Skills in 2006 and has been addressed by several groups using definitions that differ in some respects from each other. However, there is a common core that includes (see slide). www.21stcenturyskills.org
  • An examination of outcomes that had been tested in the 1999 International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) Civic Education Study (CIVED) on a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,800 ninth-graders in the United States showed that this data set had rigorously developed measures of many of the outcomes included in the enumerations of 21 st Century skills and competencies. The only competencies not included in the CIVED test or survey were math skills, ICT literacy, and creativity/innovation. In addition to measures of the competencies, the IEA CIVED data also included measures pertaining to the type of education these ninth-graders had received, especially focused on the classrooms where civic-related education took place (including classes in civics, history, and social studies). In particular, the IEA CIVED instrument had included a reliable scale measuring student perceptions of a focus on lectures or factual material in their classes and memorization of facts and dates (“traditional teaching”). A separate scale had included measuring perceptions of a focus on respectful discussion of issues, including controversial issues, in class (“open class climate for discussion”).
  • The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation – Report published in 2010 Emphasis on political knowledge has replaced practical education on how to address civic problems and learning civic skills (e.g. how to vote). Has failed to create a more knowledgeable generation of citizens. Young Americans are less likely to be engaged in their communities, participate in electoral politics, to read local or national newspapers, to voice faith in our democratic system, or to express healthy levels of political efficacy. Knowledge Trap – Emphasis on political knowledge has replaced practical education on how to address civic problems and learning civic skills (e.g. how to vote). Has failed to create a more knowledgeable generation of citizens. Young Americans are less likely to be engaged in their communities, participate in electoral politics, to read local or national newspapers, to voice faith in our democratic system, or to express healthy levels of political efficacy. GO TO NEXT PAGE OF NOTES – NOT NEXT SLIDE
  • So…. Compiled relevant data by educators, scholars, and existing school standards which currently determine what high school graduates need to know. Recruited a new group of stakeholder consisted of workplace managers, college professors, city and municipal employees, and recent high-school graduates. These new stakeholders interact with recent high school graduates and have a working understanding of skill sets young people must have to be effective citizens. Presented this data to the new stakeholders who had not previously involved in the conversation. These stakeholders were asked to: Respond to current practices. Identify gaps in these practices. What these stakeholders found was: Unreflective - Lacking personal ethics, political tolerance, and conflict negotiation skills. Individualistic - Concerned primarily about themselves and not identifying or connecting with their communities. Detached - Distanced not only from their communities but also from the larger political and democratic processes. Unprepared - Missing the basis prerequisites to be good citizens in the workplace, the college classroom, and their communities.
  • Research & Civic Education 2011

    1. 1. What Research Says About Civic Education What Works?
    2. 2. Welcome! <ul><li>CRF is a non-profit, non-partisan, educational organization. We provide programs, professional development and materials that support teachers, youth, and community-based service providers in the fields of civic- and law-related education. </li></ul><ul><li>Check us out on the web @ www.crf-usa.org </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Civic Mission of Schools The Civic Mission of Schools report provides guidance for local, state, and national policy on civics in our schools. www.civicmissionofschools.org
    4. 4. Prepare all of America’s young people to be competent and responsible citizens who are: CMS Goals of Civic Education <ul><li>Informed and Thoughtful </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory </li></ul><ul><li>Politically Active </li></ul><ul><li>Socially responsible, tolerant, and believe in their capacity to make a difference. </li></ul>
    5. 5. 1. Instruction in government, history, law, and democracy. 2. Discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events. 3. Service Learning – service activities linked to classroom instruction and civic outcomes. 4. Extra-curricular activities that provide opportunities for youth to get involved in their schools and communities. 5. Student participation in school/classroom governance and decision-making. 6. Simulations of democratic processes and procedures such as mock trials, legislative deliberations and diplomacy that promote more political knowledge and interest. CMS Promising Approaches
    6. 6. Paths to 21 st Century Competencies Through Civic Education Classrooms Commissioned by the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools www.abanet.org/publiced
    7. 7. <ul><li>Basic knowledge of economic and political processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Skill in understanding what is presented in the media. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to work well with others, especially in diverse groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Positive attitudes about working hard and obeying the law. </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity and innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>www.21stcenturyskills.org </li></ul>21 st Century Competencies
    8. 8. <ul><li>Data from the IEA Civic Education Study (CIVED), which had been collected from a national sample of 14-year-olds in 1999 in the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture based. </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive discussion-based. </li></ul><ul><li>Both lecture and interactive discussion based. </li></ul><ul><li>Neither. </li></ul>Evidence on which this report is based
    9. 9. “ Educators who wish to strengthen their programs should focus on enhancing interactive discussion-based methods with a strong content focus as part of every student’s educational experience.”  Conclusion
    10. 10. Civics, Not Government Redirecting Social Studies in the Nation’s Schools The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation invites a new set of stakeholders to the debate on civic education. www.annettestrauss.org
    11. 11. <ul><li>Stakeholders see current practices as creating young citizens who are: </li></ul><ul><li>Unreflective </li></ul><ul><li>Individualistic </li></ul><ul><li>Detached </li></ul><ul><li>Unprepared </li></ul>“ What Stakeholders Told Us”
    12. 12. <ul><li>Civic education should: </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize meaning over memorization. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize inspiration over efficiency. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize ownership over detachment. </li></ul><ul><li>Be integrated, not specialized. </li></ul><ul><li>Start early, not late.  </li></ul>Five recommendations to create a more invested citizenry
    13. 13. Modified Lesson from CRF’s Educating on Immigration website: http://crfimmigrationed.org/ Review & Apply <ul><li>We’ve looked at 3 different research reports: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Civic Mission of Schools Report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paths to 21 st Century Competencies Through Civic Education Classrooms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civics, Not Government </li></ul></ul>Make Connections
    14. 14. You will consider proposed legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for young people who arrived as undocumented children. The DREAM Act: A Legislative Hearing <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Students will be able to: </li></ul><ul><li>Examine arguments supporting and opposing proposed legislation. </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate for a specific interest or viewpoint. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the power of advocacy, policy, and law to address social issues.  </li></ul>26
    15. 15. Any child who was brought to this country illegally while under the age of 16 may apply for legal residency and is eligible for employment and admission to any public university while they complete the process of becoming legal citizens.  The DREAM Act: A Path to Citizenship 26
    16. 16. Reading Break up into three groups 1. Senators 2. Supporters 3. Non-Supporters Advocate Decide Debrief – How does this lesson connect to the recommendations of the research? The DREAM Act: A Path to Citizenship 26
    17. 17. 1. Instruction in government, history, law, and democracy. 2. Discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events. 3. Service-learning activities linked to classroom instruction and civic outcomes. 4. Extra-curricular activities that provide opportunities for youth to get involved in their schools and communities. 5. Student participation in school/classroom governance and decision-making. 6. Simulations of democratic processes and procedures such as mock trials, legislative deliberations and diplomacy that promote more political knowledge and interest. CMS Promising Approaches
    18. 18. What’s Happening in CA? California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools Educating for Democracy www.cms-ca.org What You Can Do Guide, Research and Reports, Additional Resources, News , Policy Updates & Outreach Materials
    19. 19. <ul><li>Katie Moore - [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Check us out on the web @ </li></ul><ul><li>www.crf-usa.org </li></ul>Thank You!

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