Guest Column Back to top.
How do you help countries begin to develop open, democratic societies? The Step by Step Program believes that you start with the youngest children, and provide them with educational opportunities that will help them inculcate democratic principles into their everyday lives. From 2007-10, Mimi Howard conducted a study of the International Step by Step Association (ISSA), with programs in 29 Central Asian and Eastern European countries. Her work was part of an effort to capture how the ISSA teacher standards had impacted classroom practices and teachers' ability to support DEMOCRATIC THINKING in young children. For a snapshot of a classroom in Estonia and for more about the Step by Step Program, read her Guest Column.
What States Are Doing Back to top.
TENNESSEE Governor Phil Bredesen has signed into law Senate Bill 3432 which requires that the course of instruction in all public schools include, at some appropriate grade level or levels in high school, courses and content designed to educate children in the United States government. The goal of the curriculum is to include the three branches of government, the fundamental documents that underpin our form of government, an understanding of how laws are enacted, and ways citizens shape and influence government and governmental actions.
A concurrent resolution has been adopted by the HAWAI`I House of Representatives requesting the board of education to adopt a policy for the integration of a pedagogy of aloha in public schools for improved learning in the 21st century. The resolution in part notes that aloha, the Hawaiian cultural principle that entails the love of self, family and the wider community, "provides students with an effective learning environment in which they feel nurtured, safe and encouraged to achieve the highest level of success in everything they do."
A new law in VIRGINIA (SB 715) requires the Board of Education to promulgate regulations to require (1) all education preparation programs for teachers in history and social sciences, elementary education K-6, and middle education 6-8 to include local government and civics instruction specific to Virginia and (2) any teacher seeking renewal of a license with an endorsement in history and social sciences, elementary education K-6, or middle education 6-8 to undertake study of the structures, function, and powers of state and local government of Virginia and the importance of citizen participation in the political process in state and local government of Virginia.
VIRGINIA Superintendent Patricia Wright is challenging applications developers to create "apps" for Apple devices to help middle school students master geography, civics, economics and American history. Among the specific objectives are helping students "participate in planning for effective civic action" and "identify international issues that require local decisionmaking."
Good Reads Back to top.
A Glorious Revolution for Youth and Communities looks at youth development through SERVICE-LEARNING in the setting of model communities, described as "those that endorse, enrich, embrace and empower their young people." The book, by George Whitehead and Andrew Kitzrow, examines how service-learning helps students develop higher-order thinking skills and encourages communities to utilize the resources that youth contribute. Whitehead is member of NCLC's District Leader Network.
A new publication by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) reports on the findings of a CMS task force which examined CIVIC LEARNING in 11 schools and districts which offer exemplary civic learning to all students. No Excuses: Schools and Districts that Make Preparing Students for Citizenship a Priority, and How Others Can Do It, Too! concludes that high-quality civic learning can be replicated and scaled up in every school and district in the nation.
A new CIRCLE fact sheet, CIVIC SKILLS AND FEDERAL POLICY, examines the effect of opportunities or lack thereof for civic engagement. The paper finds that those most likely to be exposed to opportunities for civic engagement are also those who would be most likely to exercise civic dispositions anyway. The fact sheet, released concurrently with a conference examining federal policy on civic skills, will lead to a report by CIRCLE about proposed federal policy recommendations discussed at the meeting.
NCLC News Back to top.
The annual meeting of NCLC's DISTRICT LEADER NETWORK (DLN) will be held in conjunction with Youth Service America's annual conference this year. The DLN meeting, scheduled for October 15-16, 2010, in Detroit, Michigan, will include a site visit to Detroit Edison Public School Academy, which is a member of NCLC's Schools of Success.
The NCLC EXECUTIVE BOARD will meet August 17-18, 2010, in Portland, Oregon.
NCLC staff conducted site visits at seven NCLC SCHOOLS OF SUCCESS during May and June. Discussions centered around existing service-learning programs and identification of technical assistance needs to be provided by NCLC. The seven schools are Park Forest Elementary (State College, PA), Raymond School (Franksville, WI), Greendale Middle School (Greendale, WI), Malcolm Shabazz City High School (Madison, WI), Waterford High School (Waterford, CT), Montpelier High School (Montpelier, VT) and Liberty High School, (Louisville, KY). Site visits to three additional schools are scheduled during the summer.
Meetings & Events Back to top.
Plan to attend the ECS 2010 National Forum on EDUCATION POLICY, August 18-20 in Portland, Oregon. As always, the focus will be on issues of high importance to states. This year, we'll direct our attention to ensuring effective remediation, more graduates and greater college/work success. To learn more and register now, visit
Names in the News Back to top.
June 30 marked RANDALL COLLINS' last day as superintendent of Waterford (CT) Public Schools. Collins retired after 19 years at the helm of the Waterford school district. He is a member of the NCLC Executive Board and the District Leader Network. Read his reflection in District Administration.
NCLC congratulates PRISCILLA HADEN on her re-election as president of the West Virginia State Board of Education. Haden is a member of the NCLC Executive Board.
With the death of SENATOR ROBERT C. BYRD, D-W.Va., citizenship education has lost a strong defender. He not only sponsored the legislation that put observances of Constitution Day on the calendars of schools nationwide, he carried, and frequently quoted from, a copy of the U.S. Constitution which he carried in his pocket.
Other Useful Web sites Back to top.
The Web site formerly known as OurCourts.org has been expanded and renamed. The new site is iCivics.org, a "web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in our democracy." Capitalizing on kids' love of computer games, the Web site has a host of games designed to teach civics to middle school students. It's free and even has a section to help teachers make the most of games like "Do I Have a Right?" and "Supreme Decision."
C-SPAN officially launched the C-SPAN Video Library, a free, searchable online collection of every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, over 160,000 hours of searchable digital video. According to the Web site, "programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text." What a great RESOURCE FOR TEACHERS of U.S. History, Civics and Government!
International Focus Back to top.
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement has released Initial Findings of the IEA International CIVIC AND CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION STUDY. The 2009 study considered how well young people are prepared for their roles as citizens and found, among other things, noteworthy differences between high and low achievers and between males and females. The study focused on countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
The fourth annual Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition is accepting nominations and entries on a rolling basis through the beginning of Fall 2010. The global competition is open to young people, ages 12 to 24, who have launched their own youth-led ventures. The competition seeks to highlight the work of young people which demonstrates exceptionally INSPIRATIONAL CHANGE-MAKING, particularly in areas of empathy, teamwork, leadership and entrepreneurship. For additional information and to nominate youth, please visit the competition Web site.