three paths to civic education reform

Today, CIRCLE releases case studies of three significant state-level reforms for civic education. We chose them because they reflect very different approaches to improving civics (or any other major topic) through state legislation:

  • In Florida, the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act passed in 2010, mandating a high-stakes standardized test in civics.
  • In Hawaii, a required “Participation in Democracy” course places a strong emphasis on experiential education; the requirement was passed in 2006 and an effort to repeal it was defeated.
  • In Tennessee, recent legislation mandates project-based civics assessments at the middle and high school levels.

It’s too early to say which reform “works,” in the sense of generating the best outcomes for students, but the CIRCLE studies reveal some of the pros and cons of each strategy.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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