Who We Are
The National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE) seeks to support state policymakers in establishing civic learning and engagement programs for pre-K through postsecondary students. The NCLCE promotes the ideal that citizenship must be taught to the nation’s young people and that all students should be prepared for a lifetime of civic engagement. The NCLCE works to further this goal by equipping state policymakers with the research and data needed to support the creation of civic education programs.
The NCLCE is an institute within the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national, unbiased organization that convenes and informs state leaders on the research, policies, and issues critical to improving pre-K to postsecondary education. The NCLCE complements the mission of ECS with a unique level of expertise and collaboration within the fields of civic education and civic engagement.
The NCLCE's mission is to help state and district leaders promote, support, and reward quality civic education and service-learning as essential components of America's education system. Working closely with other national, state, and local organizations, the NCLCE contributes to a collective public voice in support of service-learning and civic education to improve student learning.
The NCLCE is led by its Director and an Executive Board composed of chief state school officers, state policymakers, district superintendents, representatives from higher education, and national civic leaders. The NCLCE board members assume leadership roles in their states and in national organizations to ensure that PreK-12 students have quality service-learning opportunities and to encourage schools to fulfill the civic mission of education.
The NCLCE provides hands-on, tailored assistance to school districts and states. This assistance may include: developing, sharing and showcasing examples of high-quality policies, models, and ideas about service-learning and civic education; and providing assistance in working successfully with a wide-range of people involved in providing students with the highest-caliber of service-learning and civic education, notably teachers, policymakers, schoolboard members, parents, community-based organizations, and students.
The NCLCE organizes national, statewide, and local meetings to share information about effective service-learning and civic education. These forums provide participants an opportunity to exchange ideas and concerns, and to learn from their peers and discuss challenges they face in providing high-quality education for all PreK-12 students.
The NCLCE provides information about service-learning and civic education through publications and on the website. The Publications page has a comprehensive list of our printed resources, including issue and policy briefs that address critical service-learning and civic education issues (most of our publications can be downloaded at no cost). Resources include case studies highlighting successful PreK-12 programs linking service with learning; research findings about the impact of service-learning on students, schools, and communities and the related importance of developing and nurturing civic competencies throughout the PreK-12 experience
The NCLCE identifies policies that support service-learning and civic education, and provides strategies for concerned constituents to learn how to work with state and local policymakers to develop strong policies at all levels.
The NCLCE creates and sustains strategic partnerships with national, state, and local organizations and agencies committed to student achievement through service-learning and civic education. These collaborations build on existing NCLCE efforts and help education leaders make the connections they need with their peers, teachers, policymakers, schoolboard members, parents, community-based organizations, and students.