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to the national center for learning and citizenship

To read more about Service-Learning, visit the ECS Issue Site on Service-Learning.

To read more about civic education, visit the ECS Issue Site on Citizenship/Character Education.

Do you have information you would like to share in future issues of Citizenship Matters? Send submissions to Brady Delander at

The ECS National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE) assists state and district policymakers and educators developing policies that support K-12 school-based service-learning opportunities. These educational experiences help students acquire the skills, values, knowledge and practice necessary to be effective citizens. The NCLCE identifies and analyzes policies and practices that support effective civic education, creates and disseminates publications for education stakeholders, and convenes meetings to develop a collective voice for citizenship education and civic mission of schools. NCLCE also encourages policy support and system structures to integrate service-learning into schools and communities. For more information, visit

Welcome to Citizenship Matters, from the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE) at the Education Commission of the States (ECS). This bimonthly newsletter focuses on ECS' work in improving civic education in our nation's schools.

May / June 2014

Guest Column

Common Core's unsung benefit
Ross Wiener, vice president and  executive director of the Education and Society Program at the Aspen Institute, examines the role civics education plays in the Common Core. "Educating young people for citizenship should feature prominently in how we talk about and think about the Common Core. And citizenship should be part of how students are tested on the standards," he writes in The Atlantic.

New from NCLCE

Series of reports review state civics initiatives
NCLCE recently released the third in a series of six reports that provide an overview of what states are doing to address civic learning, with and without legislation. The most recent report details initiatives in Florida and Illinois that do not require legislation. Previous reports highlighted states addressing civics with mandated task forces and  explore efforts in Florida and Tennessee to hold schools and students accountable for civics knowledge.

What States Are Doing

Massachusetts adopts postsecondary civics policy
The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education adopted a first-in-the-nation policy on civic learning for public college and university students and will work with the Commonwealth's community colleges, state universities and University of Massachusetts campuses to incorporate civic learning as an "expected outcome" for undergraduate students beginning in the 2014-15 academic year.

Tennessee makes move on textbooks
Recently passed legislation in Tennessee, S.B. 1266, recommends that "textbooks for use in social studies, Tennessee history, American history or any related subject, the commission shall recommend only  textbooks that accurately and comprehensively relate and explain the achievements of citizens of the United States." The bill is on the way to the governor's desk.

Virginia Commission on Civics Education
With H.B. 364, Virginia reestablished its Commission on Civics Education, which had expired on June 30, 2013. The purposes of the commission are to educate students on the importance of citizen involvement in a constitutional republic, promote the study of state and local government among the Commonwealth's citizenry and enhance communication and collaboration among organizations in the Commonwealth that conduct civics education.

Good Reads

Harvard poll eyes upcoming midterm elections
A national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard's Institute of Politics, located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds low expected participation for the midterm elections as less than one-in-four (23 percent) young Americans say they will "definitely be voting" in November.

Open-source journal focuses on service-learning in teacher education
The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning in Teacher Education provides a forum for exchanging insights throughout the world. The journal publishes manuscripts that advance scholarship on service-learning in teacher education.

Should students sit on school boards?
An article from The Atlantic asks whether students should sit on school boards. Advocates say teenagers deserve a say in policies that affect them. But do students have the maturity and experience to make responsible decisions?

Opinion: Tackling a civic engagement crisis in Los Angeles
Eric Garcetti, the 42nd mayor of the city of Los Angeles, and William A. Covino, the seventh president of California State University, Los Angeles, discuss the state of "crisis" in California related to civic education. "Civic education and civic literacy are not only about having your voice heard at the ballot box, or at City Hall; they're also tools for mobility and opportunity," they write.

Events, Names in the News

Alex Wirth to intern at White House
Alex Wirth, a junior at Harvard and friend of NCLCE, recently announced that he has been selected for a White House Internship and will be working this summer in the Office of the Chief of Staff and Office of Communications. In order to take on that role, he stepped down as chair of the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council. Follow Alex on Twitter (@amaliowirth), and learn more information about him here.

ECS National Forum on Education Policy
The 2014 ECS National Forum on Education Policy kicks off on June 30 in Washington, D.C., and wraps up July 2. Nowhere else do governors, legislators, state superintendents, higher education officials, teachers, state board members, legislative and gubernatorial staff, business leaders, researchers and others come together under one roof for three days to find common ground on tough education issues. It’s not too late to register!

Frontiers of Democracy
Join the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, the Democracy Imperative and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium for Frontiers of Democracy. July 16-18 at Tufts University campus in Boston. "Though it is clear we have many principles and practices in common, we differ on what we should call this work and where it is headed. In order for 'overlapping civic coalitions' to form, the potential  partners would have to work through goals, assumptions, and differences," said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Tufts University's Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.


Thank you for reading Citizenship Matters. For questions, comments or submissions, contact Brady Delander at 303.299.3622 or

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