The following excerpt is from Mother Jones Magazine, the JAN/FEB issue, of 2017, written by Kristina Rizga: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/02/civics-education-trump-bullying/
Advocates for the public education system argued that the unique American experiment wouldn’t work without it—that schools were the most effective mechanism for instilling civic values such as abandoning unrestrained self-interest and opposing bigotry.
Until the late ’60s, three different courses in civic studies were common in American high schools, and they often focused on helping students apply the dry mechanics of government to solving problems in their own communities. Many social studies classes also aimed to highlight the fragility of the democratic process and the historic importance of civic engagement.
True, these classes were often heavy on jingoism and light on people of color, women, and LGBT communities, but that in itself prompted a civics lesson: a powerful movement for ethnic and gender studies that continues to expand.
But all that changed most notably in the 1980s, when, in addition to earlier cuts in civic studies, policymakers began shifting the focus from social studies toward easily testable subjects like math and reading. As Stanford University’s David F. Labaree argued in his intellectual history of American education, Someone Has to Fail, schools abandoned their civic mission in favor of preparing a new generation of skilled workers. The No Child Left Behind Act later accelerated this push, drawing on the work of a Reagan-era commission that postulated (with scant evidence) that test scores in reading and math would predict college and workplace performance.
In 2011, all federal funding for civics and social studies was eliminated. Some state and local funding dropped, too, forcing many cash-strapped districts to prioritize math and English—the subjects most prominently featured in standardized tests.
Select Social Study Training & Activity Programs
Unless otherwise stated, programs are offered through Oregon’s Classroom Law Project (CLP).
- Oregon Civic Scholars Program — Supporting professional development for civic education teachers. State legislators name two Civic Scholar teachers from each district.
- 4-H Parliamentary Procedures Guide for Teachers – Offered by the Wisconsin 4-H Southern District
- Project Citizen – A portfolio-based Core Value & Oregon SS Approved curriculum where students identify a public issue, research it, and make and execute an action plan.
- YMCA Youth in Government – A mock legislation program for high school student teams to present at the State Capital. Financial assistance available.
- Mock Trials
- Law Day Conference
- Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers
- iCivics – Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics gives students free tools to participate in civic life and teaching resources for their teachers.
- Civics Day at the Legislature – Held at State Capital, first day in December
- Voting Registration Training – Offered by the League of Women Voters
- Mock Elections – Offered by the League of Women Voters
- Voting Rights & Selma-to-Montgomery Bridge to the Ballot Video & Classroom Guide “Teaching Tolerance” free teaching guides, offered by the Southern Poverty Law Center
- One Woman One Vote film – Presented by PBS
- Iron Jawed Angels film – Presented by HBO films
- Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools from Annenberg Public Policy Center at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
- “Barriers & Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership” from AAUW
- “Civic Education and Knowledge of Government and Politics,” from Georgetown University and the Center for Civic Education
- 2006 Oregon Civics Survey sponsored by the Classroom Law Project
- The 2014 Nation’s Report Card: U.S. History, Geography and Civics, by the National Assessment of Educational Process, sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Check out our CHiPS brochure.
CHiPS in the News!
- Register-Guard Guest Viewpoint, “Women’s group works to further civics education,” February 20, 2017.
- Included in the national AAUW Outlook Summer 2016 issue (see pages 24-25).
CHiPS Meeting Minutes
- June 4, 2018
- May 24, 2017
- August 30, 2016
- October 15, 2015
- October 9, 2015
- August 31, 2015
- July 7, 2015
AAUW Eugene-Lane Branch Meeting Minutes:
Use our AAUW Eugene-Lane branch contact form to contact our CHiPS program coordinator Cathy Meyer.