Guest Column Back to top.
When HON. LEE H. HAMILTON talks about Congress he knows whereof he speaks, having served 34 years in the House of Representatives. His experience formed the deep commitment to civic learning and engaged citizenship that lead to the establishment of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. He contends, "There is a lot that Americans don’t understand about Congress." Read his thoughts on what Americans can and must do to "participate in democracy in an informed and civil manner."
What States Are Doing Back to top.
Governor Brian Sandoval has signed into law Senate Bill 237, which makes some revisions to the NEVADA Youth Legislature. The term of a member of the Youth Legislature is increased from one to two years, with the possibility of a single, successive two-year reappointment if the member continues to meet the qualifications for initial appointment. Eligibility requirements are expanded to allow pupils in grade 9 to apply for appointment to the Youth Legislature.
Governor David Heineman signed into law NEBRASKA L.B. 544, which enumerates specific topics required to be covered in teaching the duties of citizenship during high school civics courses, "including active participation in the improvement of a citizen's community, state, country, and world and the value and practice of civil discourse between opposing interests."
In an unusual move, the HAWAI`I State Board of Education initially decided to reduce from four to three the number of social studies credits required for graduation, then after public outcry, changed its mind and kept the social studies requirement at four credits. Supporters of a proposal to include U.S. and World History as required courses were disappointed when that initiative failed.
Good Reads Back to top.
In the last few weeks, there has been a veritable landslide of new reports and other publications we think would be of interest to our readers. In a departure from our normal format, in this issue we're including a larger number of items in Good Reads.
The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) has issued an updated report, Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools. The report makes a strong case that investing in civic learning strengthens AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Research and proven practices add weight to the argument, which includes policy recommendations for local (including parents), state and federal policymakers as well as researchers and funders. Read the full report at the CMS Web site.
The National School Climate Center (NSCC) has released a new policy scan looking at ANTI-BULLYING AND SCHOOL CLIMATE policies in the 50 states. Results of the scan show that, while a number of states have policies and regulations in place, few have provisions for funding or technical assistance for teachers and administrators. To read more, visit their Web site. (NSCC recommends using Internet browsers Firefox or Safari for best results.)
"Building Authentic Relationships with Youth at Risk" is a new PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESOURCE from the Dropout Prevention Center/Network. Available on DVD, it consists of 10 sessions with all materials, including a facilitator's guide, resources and a workshop presentation.
The Program on American Citizenship at the American Enterprise Institute has issued a policy brief, CONTESTED CURRICULUM: How Teachers and Citizens View Civics Education. The brief is based on a survey of public and private high school social studies teachers and citizens. It points out some interesting similarities and differences relative to the importance of 12 "concepts of citizenship" among the three groups. To read more, visit the Web site.
Support for the First Amendment has waxed and waned over the 220 years since the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The fourth survey in the Future of the FIRST AMENDMENT series was conducted in spring of 2011, and the results are enlightening, especially when compared with previous survey results. This analysis focuses on how students view the right to freedom of expression in light of the increasing use of digital media. Future of the First Amendment 2011 Survey of High School Students and Teachers is available at the Web site of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funded the project.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship have released results of research on civic activity between 2008 and 2010. According to 2011 CIVIC LIFE IN AMERICA: Key Findings on the Civic Health of the Nation, "civic life in America continues to be dynamic;" civic engagement is a reinforcing cycle; Internet usage in civic activity continues to grow; and people are civically active at all stages of life. Read more at the Web site.
New Center Publications Back to top.
NCLC has completed a NEW 50-STATE POLICY SCAN on Service-Learning/Community Service, and developed a database of state policies that support service-learning for K-12 students. From this database, you can generate profiles of the policies in individual states and view 50-state reports on policies for service-learning/community service. Visit the ECS/NCLC Web site to access reports from the database, and look for an analysis of the data in the next issue of Citizenship Matters.
Meetings & Events Back to top.
The American Enterprise Institute is hosting "CIVICS 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation," October 20 in Washington, D.C. The day's discussions will "explore the issues of citizenship and schooling by looking at domestic and international data, teacher training, and schools and classrooms." If you'll be in the D.C. area, you can attend in person. Another option is to watch the event online. For more information, visit the Web site.
Make plans now to attend the National Service-Learning Conference and youthrive PeaceJam Leadership Conference, April 11-14, 2012, in Minneapolis. The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) and youthrive, the Upper Midwest Affiliate of PeaceJam International, are partnering to bring OUR WORLD, OUR FUTURE, the largest gathering of youth and practitioners in the service-learning movement. NCLC is proud to be an Affiliate Sponsor of this exciting event. Visit the Web site for more information.
Names in the News Back to top.
DR. SHELDON BERMAN,>/b> a member of the NCLC Executive Board and the new superintendent of Eugene, Oregon, Public Schools, has been chosen by the Character Education Partnership to receive the 2011 Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education. He was featured in the September issue of The School Administrator as one of 10 administrators who have shown courageous leadership. Berman will receive the award at the 2011 National Forum on Character Education.
Other Useful Web sites Back to top.
"Service-learning by any other name…" YOU FOR YOUTH is a new Web site offered by the U.S. Department of Education. Although aimed at after school 21st Century Learning Communities, the methodology is remarkably akin to service-learning. The site offers online professional development courses, coaching modules, libraries and more. Check this out!
Youth Service America (YSA) and United Healthcare have teamed up on a service-learning, health literacy initiative, awarding $500-$1,000 grants to help youth, ages 5-25, create and implement local, hands-on programs to fight CHILDHOOD OBESITY. Application deadline is midnight, October 17, 2011. Visit the YSA Web site for the application.
Project Ignition grants are now available for public high schools to support their students in addressing TEEN DRIVER SAFETY through service-learning. Twenty-five schools will be chosen to receive the $2,000 grants which are a joint project of the National Youth Leadership Council and State Farm. Ten of these schools will be selected to receive an additional $5,000 to support their participation in a significant national conference or event; and they will have the opportunity to receive an additional $2,500 to go deeper with their campaigns. Find out more at the Project Ignition Web site.
International Focus Back to top.
Youth Activism and Public Space in EGYPT is a new report issued by Innovations in Civic Participation and the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. The report "focuses on a small snapshot of youth-led organizations in Egypt, young people's use of social media as an outlet for civic participation and young Egyptian's creation of graffiti artwork, all before, during and in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution."
The International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE) has announced its call for proposals for the third international conference Conversations that Matter: Research, Policy, and Practice. The conference will be held June 21-23, 2012 at Duke University. ICCSLTE is looking for "presenters who envision service-learning as a necessary component of TEACHER EDUCATION, both pre-service (educating new teachers) and in-service (ongoing professional development for practicing employed teachers)." Selected proposals will provide research-based insights, reflect critically on issues of policy and practice, and raise important questions for international discussion. Deadline for submission is 9 p.m. PST, October 31, 2011.