Posted on the CIRCLE website today:
On May 16, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter (retired) and Susan Leahy, the president of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society, visited CIRCLE’s offices at Tufts University to discuss civic education in New Hampshire. Justice Souter has written and spoken publicly about the need to revive civic education in order to protect constitutional principles—including the independence of the judiciary—and to preserve and spread the ideals and practices of democratic government that he learned from the New England town meetings of his childhood. He and Susan Leahy represented the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society’s Civics Task Force, a diverse group of the state’s leaders who are concerned that New Hampshire has no core curriculum in civics, nor any detailed goals for civic education. Although valuable opportunities for civic learning are available in the state (for students and adults), they are sporadic and episodic.
CIRCLE staff shared research on civic education and discussed a range of strategies for enhancing it at the state level, with a special focus on “professional development” (or educational opportunities for teachers). New Hampshire educators have identified professional development in civics as a priority, and research shows that it is valuable. For example, see the CIRCLE Fact Sheet entitled How Teachers’ Preparation Relates to Students’ Civic Knowledge and Engagement in the United States: Analysis from the IEA Civic Education Study by Judith Torney-Purta, Carolyn Henry Barber, and Wendy Klandl Richardson.