Initial reports indicate that only 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot in last week’s presidential election. Key to growing citizen participation in elections and other activities that will maintain a strong U.S. democracy is an increased emphasis on civics education in schools.
At the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference, Pearson announced a new partnership with the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools to support the acceleration of access to high-quality civic learning, with the goal of educating young Americans about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Pearson joins the Campaign’s coalition of more than 70 national civic learning, education, civic engagement and business groups committed to improving the quality and quantity of civic learning in American schools.
In more than 30 years of Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup polling on American attitudes on education, Americans have overwhelmingly concurred with the statement that “educating young people for responsible citizenship” should be the primary goal of our schools. Yet, there has been a decrease in civics education in U.S. schools since the 1960s, which is illustrated by student performance on civics assessments. According to “Civics 2010: The Nation’s Report Card,” more than three-quarters of high school seniors – the nation’s newest voters – and nearly 80 percent of eighth-graders scored below the proficient level.
“Our research demonstrates that civic learning is as critical to workforce preparation as strong reading and math skills,” said Ted McConnell, Executive Director, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. “We are excited to embark on this collaboration with Pearson that will allow us to take our work to the next level. It will help us ensure that students have access to effective, high-quality learning opportunities based on the proven practices in civic learning that our coalition of prestigious experts has identified.”
Pearson’s Luess Sampson-Lizotte said, “As our country confronts some of the most difficult challenges in its history, it is crucial that our young people understand how our democracy works and appreciate the importance of participation at the local, state and national level. Access to this high-quality civics and government education will allow students to see the critical importance of playing a role in the democratic process that keeps our country free.”
About the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (www.civicmissionofschools.org) is a coalition of over 70 national civic learning, education, civic engagement and business groups committed to improving the quality and quantity of civic learning in American schools. The Campaign’s goal is to increase and improve civic learning in grades K-12 by working for policies that implement the recommendations of the “Guardian of Democracy: the Civic Mission of Schools” report. This includes efforts to bring about changes in national, state and local education policy.
Pearson, http://www.pearsoned.com, has as its mission to work side by side with states, districts, teachers, students and parents to ensure that every child is prepared for college, career, and civic life. (NYSE: PSO).