2014 Constitution Day is September 17

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In less than a month, colleges and universities across the country will commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

Although educational institutions in the United States that receive federal funding must observe Constitution Day, the real reason we celebrate it is to memorialize the creation of our democracy. What was penned in this document has been fought for and protected by courageous men and women decade after decade, and it has inspired countries around the world to draft similar documents. Together, we continuously work to forge a more perfect union.

This annual holiday is a day to pause and reflect on the birth of our democracy.

And this post is a reminder that Constitution Day is coming up on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

If you need a little inspiration and want to read what some of your ADP colleagues did last year to commemorate Constitution Day, check out this blog entry or this one.

If you are in need of resources, please visit our ADP resource page on Constitution Day.

And finally, if you already know what you are doing, we would love to hear about it. Please take just a moment to fill out this short survey about your plans. With this information, we will create a summary of 2014 Constitution Day activities and events to share with ADP participants and friends. Your response will be an invaluable contribution.

What’s New ADP? August 2014 Edition

SAVE THE DATE

  • #ADPTDC15 will be held in New Orleans, La., June 4-6, 2015
  • Global Challenges Institute will be held at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, November 6-7, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Economic Inequality: A New ADP/TDC National Initiative 
ADP and TDC are pleased to join our lead institutions in announcing a call for participation in this new national initiative. We are seeking a small cohort of two- and four-year member institutions to join us in a three-year initiative to understand the impact of economic inequality on our democracy. Read more here.

REMINDERS

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BLOG

REQUEST FOR SUBMISSIONS: AASCU/The New York Times Education Toolkit 
The American Democracy Project’s (ADP) parent organization, The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), has partnered with The New York Times education division to create a toolkit that will demonstrate how instructors at AASCU institutions are using the Times in the classroom. The toolkit will serve the dual purpose of showcasing the good work our institutions do and acting as a guide for instructors curious about how to integrate the Times into their own teaching. Read more here. Submit your materials here.

National Study on Student Civic Skills and Identities Seeking ADP/TDC Campus Participation 
Do campus student organizations cultivate civic skills and identities? Join a national study to answer this question. This National Study is being organized by two ADP Campus Coordinators and political science faculty members — Elizabeth Bennion at Indiana University South Bend and Cherie Strachan at Central Michigan University. Read more here.

Journal of Public Deliberation | The State of the Field 
This special issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation consists of a collection essays by leading innovators and scholars who share a commitment to increased and improved participation by everyday Americans in public discourse, community problem solving, and social policy making.  The “field” of public deliberation has made impressive advances in the last 30 years in both theory and practice. Read more here.

What We’re Reading: Imagining America’s Public (Volume 2, Issue 1) 
Find a summary here.

Partners & Friends

DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR

September 17:  Constitution Day
September 28:  National Voter Registration Day
September 28-29: Minnesota ADP/TDC/CC Civic Summit (St. Cloud, Minn.)
October 10: NCoC’s National Conference (Washington, DC)
October 17 & 18: National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation National Meeting (Washington, DC)
November 4:  Election Day
November 6 & 7: Global Challenges Institute (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)

What We’re Watching: How Democracy Works Now

Courtesy of The Democracy Commitment; see the original posting here.

In the summer of 2001, filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini set out to make a documentary film about the “story of how a great think tank becomes a law.” Interested in immigration reform and how democracy actually works, they spent the next six years following stories on comprehensive immigration reform from California to Arizona, from Kansas to Capitol Hill.

In 2011, they also took time to screen selections of their work at our ADP National Meeting in Orlando in June 2011. In Orlando, they presented with Georgia College’s Gregg Kaufman about how the documentaries could be used in the classroom.

Their final product? How Democracy Works Now.

Twelve discrete films about several dozen fascinating people in all kinds of places, each connected by a commitment to change the way that the United States handles the bedrock national identity issue of immigration.  Together, the twelve films make up one very big story, and though we surely didn’t realize it at that point, it’s exactly the story we would have wanted to find in 2001.  

-Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini, About the Series

On the website for the series, you can find background, reviews, and video clips that preview the film, which is now available on Netflix. Additionally, there are also three iBooks available in the iTunes bookstore—How Democracy Works Now, Volumes 1 – 3 that are free to download; each volume covers four films with special suggestions to help educators to identify clips and craft lesson plans.

Happy watching!

 

State Civic Education Policies | A CIRCLE Update

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Interactive Map Shows State Civic Education Policies

In the past two years, many states have been updating their civic education policies, some to conform with Common Core standards or to adopt the new College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for social studies. CIRCLE has created a new interactive map designed to quickly see where states stand on key civic education measures like required years of social studies in high school or assessments at the state level.

The interactive map lets users explore by regions and allows for custom comparisons between states. By double-clicking on a state you can also get a more detailed snapshot of a state’s civic education within the context of other key information like educational spending, population demographics, political climate, and voting rates (see a sample PDF).

Explore the map HERE.

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Florida, Tennessee, and Hawaii: Three Case Studies of Civic Education Policy

Recently, CIRCLE conducted case studies of new or revised civic education reforms in three states:

- In Florida, the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act mandates 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.

We have released a short fact sheet that describes each bill or proposal in detail, including the advantages and drawbacks identified by both proponents and detractors. We have also released a paper that includes interviews with prominent stakeholders in each state and takes an initial look at the process behind each proposal and some of the issues faced by the educators tasked with implementing them.

Download the Fact Sheet HERE.
Download the Working Paper HERE.

Both the civic education map and these case studies were funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. 

National Study on Student Civic Skills and Identities Seeking ADP/TDC Campus Participation

Research Question
Do campus student organizations cultivate civic skills and identities?

JOIN A NATIONAL STUDY TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION. This National Study is being organized by two ADP Campus Coordinators and political science faculty members — Elizabeth Bennion at Indiana University South Bend and Cherie Strachan at Central Michigan University.

Invitation to Participate
Minimal time commitment! Serve as campus coordinator or recruit somebody else!

TO SIGN UP OR GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CIVIC SKILLS RESEARCH PROJECT, please send the following information to Elizabeth Bennion at the project email address RSOstudy@iusb.edu: name, title, contact information (including email and phone number).

Project Description
Colleges and universities are increasingly called upon to bolster students’ civic and political engagement. Yet research in both political science and higher education suggest that current college-level civic education and political science coursework are incapable of fully addressing these concerns. Political scientists know that participation in associational life plays an important role in cultivating such engagement. Yet we have largely overlooked the potential of civil society on our own campuses. Given the prominent role of voluntary associations in political socialization, this work explores whether student organizations function as the equivalent of campus civil society, and whether they can supplement formal civic education efforts on campus. A single-campus pilot study, based on an internet survey of student organization presidents, found that traditional Greek organizations far outperformed other types of campus organizations in activities known to cultivate members’ civic identities, political skills, and political efficacy. The finding that some student organizations excel at this task is reassuring. Yet given the reputation of Greek organizations, this preliminary pattern is also disconcerting. Recent research by both sociologists and higher education scholars have found that participation in Greek organizations is associated with higher levels of sexism and symbolic racism. This project seeks to replicate the single campus pilot study across numerous college campuses, to determine whether the patterns identified are unique to a single campus, or whether they describe the state of campus civil society across higher education. The findings will help advocates of campus civic engagement to identify both problem-areas and best-practices for student groups. [NOTE: You do NOT need to have Greek organization on campus to participate in this study of registered student organizations.]

Participation Requirements | Campus coordinators for this project will be asked to:

  • Assemble contact information for student organization presidents on their campus
  • Provide assistance coordinating approval of the questionnaire/study for their campus
  • Help to bolster the response rate on their campus

Participation Benefits | Campus coordinators for this project will receive:

  • A report detailing the findings for their own campus
  • A summary report comparing their campus to overall findings
  • A letter documenting participation in the project
  • Eligibility to serve as PI of future Consortium projects

IRB Approval Notice
This study has already been approved by the Institutional Review Board at both Indiana University South Bend and Central Michigan University. The Principle Investigators of the study, Elizabeth Bennion (IUSB) and J. Cherie Strachan (CMU) will assure that all protocols are strictly observed. The recruitment procedure and student leader survey have been vetted by the Institutional Review Board of each campus in accordance with university and federal policies governing human subjects research. A copy of the IRB approval letters, or other IRB materials, is available upon request. Separate IRB approvals are NOT required for each participating campus. The requirements and approval protocols for student participation in national research studies vary by campus. However, if your campus would like you (or the PIs) to submit an IRB application, or other materials, please contact Elizabeth Bennion at the project email site RSOstudy@iusb.edu. Dr. Bennion will be pleased to assist with any IRB requests related to this study of registered student organizations.


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