Begin citizenship education early:
As Charles Quiqley (ED of Center for Civic Education, author of the National Standards for Civics and Government, and Supporter of Civics for All, notes: ““schools must fulfill that responsibility through both formal and informal curricula beginning in the earliest grades and continuing through the entire educational process.”
Margit McGuire, Master’s in Teaching director at Seattle University, asserts that a strong civics foundation for young learners is essential because “research suggests that children start to develop a strong sense of social responsibility and an interest in civic ideals like fairness in the elementary years.”
Provide more civics instruction:
- Dramatically increase social studies instruction in civics – which includes the rights and duties of citizens, government studies, ethics, current events, and politics.
- Infuse media literacy throughout the K-12 curriculum – civic literacy is virtually unattainable without media literacy.
- Recognize that “Civics education is political education,” as Stanford University’s Encyclopedia notes.
- Recognize that kids love civics and politics! Civics for All leverages this natural interest by helping teachers and administrators infuse civics lessons throughout the school day and school year, including required civics activities for all children, like voting.
- Make civics engaging through activities like:
- mock elections (CFA plank one),
- in depth civics projects (CFA plank two),
- political/civic and ethical essential social studies questions that spark deep thinking (CFA plank three), and
- skills like media literacy (CFA plank four)
Civics for All is “Civics in the Core”—civics facilitates student success in the Core and on the New SAT
- because civics texts, principles, and activities align perfectly with the Common Core State Standards‘ emphasis on distilling argumentative claims from non-fiction texts.
- Civics-based lessons/texts directly address the Common Core’s hierarchy of skills and can facilitate success in the Core in multiple disciplines when teachers deem it efficacious.
- Civics for All aligns directly with and will facilitate student success on the “New SAT,” which is slowly aligning with the Core and will emphasize America’s founding documents and current events analysis for the first time in the history of the test.
- Civics for All cultivates “21st Century Skills,” Including: Creative and Critical Thinking, Communication Skills, Collaboration skills, Growth Mindset and Perseverance
A Long-Term Goal: Civics Across the Curriculum
- Recognize that even a revamped social studies effort cannot tackle the profound “civics deficit” alone: all K-12 teachers are needed to help teach “civics across the curriculum” whenever efficacious.
- Research clearly shows that interdisciplinary instruction maximizes critical thinking for students and builds instructional bridges between teachers. Civics texts and current events connections can increase learning in non-social studies classes where many students struggle, such as math and science (some of these teachers already do so).
- For example: a) math might include lessons on wages, taxes and the deficit; b) foreign languages might cover immigration issues; c) science could frame environmental issues within their political contexts; d) and language arts could help further develop civic themes as well as media literacy skills.