Guest Column Back to top.
While CIVIC KNOWLEDGE is an important component of
citizenship education for students, knowing how to
apply it is even more critical, writes Randall
Collins, superintendent of the Waterford (Connecticut)
Public Schools and board chairman of the National
Center for Learning and Citizenship.
What States Are Doing Back to top.
IOWA Governor Tom Vilsack has signed into law
House File 180, which allows local school boards
and private schools to require students to have a
certain number of service-learning units to graduate
or receive a service-learning diploma endorsement.
In COLORADO, Governor Bill Owens signed Senate
Bill 36, making completion of a course on the "civil
government of the United States and the State of
Colorado" a requirement to graduate from a public
high school in the state.
VIRGINIA Governor Mark Warner approved House Bill
1503, directing the State Board of Education to establish
criteria for awarding students a diploma seal for
excellence in civics education and understanding of the
state and federal constitutions and the democratic model
Good Reads Back to top.
The CIVIC MISSION OF SCHOOLS, written and endorsed by
more than 50 scholars, researchers and practitioners,
is a valuable compilation and analysis of the state of
civic education today and historically. It also offers
recommendations for future improvements.
On May 1, the White House sponsored a forum on HISTORY,
CIVICS AND SERVICE. National Center for Learning and
Citizenship (NCLC) board members Doug Hart, Anthony
Welch and Shelley Berman, as well as Terry Pickeral, NCLC executive
director, participated in the event. The forum highlighted
the importance of personal stories to the study of history.
New Center Publications Back to top.
"Building Community Through Service-Learning: The Role
of Community Partners" highlights effective strategies
for SERVICE-LEARNING PARTNERSHIPS, using "best-practice"
examples to illustrate potential impact. The paper's
focus is on school-based, rather than community-based, service-
learning. A number of the strategic recommendations presented
in this paper, however, especially those dealing with changes
within the organization or agency itself, may be applicable
to both situations.
"Making the Case for SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING and
Service-Learning" provides an overview and description
of social and emotional learning (SEL) and service-
learning (S-L) as tools to improve students' lives and
academic performance. It describes how the two practices
are interrelated and the research evidence that supports
the expanded use of both practices in the classroom. Also
provided are descriptions of the essential elements required
of successful SEL and S-L programs, examples of successful
programs that exist today, and a discussion of state
activities and experiences.
"Civic Engagement and Service-Learning with Young Children:
Intergenerational Peacemaking Projects" looks at PEACE GAMES,
a program that builds on a 10-week core curriculum that
focuses on communication, cooperation, conflict resolution
and engagement. Teaching teams help students plan and
implement service-learning activities called "Peacemaker
Projects." This paper outlines some of these projects,
describes benefits of this approach for elementary school
students and young adult volunteers, and suggests some
basic principles and guidelines for developing and implementing
successful Peacemaker Projects.
Help is on the way for state and district leaders to
promote, support and reward CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION as an
essential component of America's education system. With
a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, NCLC
will research and assemble a collection of model state
policies and practices that successfully infuse citizenship
education into the K-12 system.
Specifically, NCLC will do the following:
These activities will take place over the next two years.
For more information, contact Susan Vermeer at email@example.com.
- Convene a "thinkers meeting" to develop student citizenship
competencies by grade level.
- Identify existing promising district and state policies
- Convene "professional judgment groups" to develop three
models for citizenship education based on the promising
policies and practices. Experts will be asked to respond
to the models based on research and their experience.
- Recruit three states to implement the policy options,
helping leaders to develop and implement an action plan to
make citizenship education an integral part of K-12 education.
Back to top.
Meetings & Events Back to top.
"Thinkers Meeting on Student Citizenship Competencies" --
On May 29-30, more than 25 scholars, practitioners and
policymakers from across the country gathered in Denver
to identify CIVIC COMPETENCIES FOR K-12 STUDENTS. Led by
Judith Torney-Purta, an international civics researcher
and University of Maryland faculty member, the group created
a framework that identifies what students across grade
levels need to know and be able to do to become effective
citizens. The framework will be released this fall. For more
information, contact Susan Vermeer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Critical Friends Group (CFG) Training" -- Representatives
from California, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and South Carolina
joined with NCLC staff last week to learn how to create policy
environments more hospitable to service-learning and citizenship
education. Participants engaged in formal training on how to
develop "CRITICAL FRIENDS GROUPS," increasing their capacity
to reflect on their work and create supportive networks locally
and nationally. "Anchoring the Investment" is a national
initiative sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to advance
service-learning through policy development, improving classroom
practice and scaling-up state and district policy options.
For more information, contact Terry Pickeral at email@example.com.
"EDUCATION LEADERSHIP COLLOQUIUM (ELC)" -- The third annual
ELC will follow The 2003 National Forum on Education Policy,
presented by ECS, in Denver, July 16-17. Policymakers and
education leaders will discuss the qualities of a civically
educated student, how to achieve those qualities, and
corresponding education policies from K-12 to higher education. To register, contact Ann Rautio, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303.299.3606.
Names in the News Back to top.
On May 19, U.S. Senator JOHN KERRY (D-MA) announced a plan
to involve one million Americans in service each year by 2010.
The initiative, released as part of Kerry's presidential
campaign, called for a mandatory HIGH SCHOOL SERVICE
REQUIREMENT as part of a curriculum that teaches about
"democracy, citizenship and citizen participation."
Ohio lawmaker DERRICK SEAVER, 21, has the distinction of
being one of the youngest state lawmakers in the country.
He and other 20-something lawmakers say youth works to
their advantage and "sends a message to young citizens that
it's okay, that politics and public service is noble," says
Jeff Coleman, a 27-year-old state representative in Pennsylvania.
Seaver, Coleman and other young politicians explain what drives
ROGER RADA, NCLC board member, has been appointed to the
National Service-Learning Partnership (NSLP) Board of Directors.
NSLP comprises more than 580 different organizational members
and 2,500 service-learning professionals. It is the only
national organization that brings together the many different
constituencies focused on high-quality service-learning in
schools across the country.