(NASHVILLE, TN), June 26, 2012 – Leaders in Civics Education from across the country will hear about model legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) at the “Every Student a Citizen” conference that will take place on Thursday, June 28, 2012 in Wheaton, Illinois. Every Student is a Citizen is a two-year effort to foster the development of state-level policy agendas for civic learning and civic engagement in K-12 schools supported by the National Center for Learning and Citizenship, the Education Commission of the States, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. In order to promote civic learning, the group has put together a series of regional meetings and a National Summit on the Role of State Policy in Promoting Civic Knowledge and Civic Engagement in K-12 Schools.
“I am honored to speak about the legislation approved by our General Assembly this year and look forward to hearing an exchange of ideas about how we can further improve civics education,” said Leader Norris. “We cannot long survive as a viable republic if our students do not know how to be active and informed participants in our democracy. This is a very important initiative.”
Public Chapter 1036 is designed to give students the skills they need to be better informed about the workings of their own government by requiring civics education be included in the public school curriculum assessed by Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). The legislation prescribes that the assessment be done on a “project-based” approach.
“This approach engages students in choosing issues of concern to them, followed by investigative research and development of plans for improving their communities,” said Leader Norris. “It moves away from testing memorization of facts and puts the focus on the academic skills needed for engaging in social issues and governance.”
The most recent study of the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that students perform worse in civics and U.S. history than in any other subjects.
The purpose of the Every Student is a Citizen conference is to build consensus within each state on key civic outcomes; identify appropriate measures of the key civic outcomes, identify successful models of education practices that promote civic learning and civic engagement for K-12 schools; and identify key policy and legislative barriers to implementation at the federal, state and local levels.
Janis Adams Kyser, Director of the Tennessee Center for Civic Learning and Engagement and Will Cromer, Director of Policy and Research for Governor Bill Haslam will also be participating in the conference.