Citizenship Education Database

Posted by on November 21, 2003

[posted from National Service-Learning Listserv]

Date: November 11, 2003
Contact: Kim Sharpe, 303.299.3680
Fax: 303.296.8332
ECS Web site:

Citizenship Education Declines Along with Civic Activity
9/11 and 11/11 Should Spark State Action

Denver, CO — Like September 11, November 11, 2003, brings to mind lives lost and acts of heroism because it marks the 50th anniversary of Veterans Day. It also should serve as a catalyst to increase citizenship education among students.

A new series of products by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) reveals that wide variation exists in the extent to which state policies address citizenship education. Forty-one states’ statutes specifically provide for the teaching of social studies, which could include government, civics and/or citizenship. While 39 states require a course in government or civics for high school graduation, only five of those states require students to pass an exit exam that includes social studies to graduate (Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and New York).

“The civic mission of education should be given equal status as the focus on academic knowledge; this is consistent with the heritage of American education,” said Terry Pickeral, NCLC executive director. “The nation depends on each generation’s active participation in our democracy, and schools have a specific obligation to implement and sustain corresponding courses, teaching strategies and activities.”

The series, supported by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, includes a 50-state, interactive Web database that gives users a picture of where and how state policy supports citizenship education. It also includes a policy brief that outlines the importance of citizenship education, reviews existing state policies and actions, and gives policy-makers questions to ponder and resources to turn to for help.

Pickeral explained that “these new resources provide policy options for state policymakers to consider, adopt or adapt as they work to increase the
opportunities for students to acquire and enhance citizenship knowledge and skills. Our democracy depends on our youth to be active, principled citizens.”

To access the 50-state database, go to The policy brief and a “StateNote,” which gives a quick 50-state look at citizenship-related state policies, can be found at
For more information about this subject, contact Jeffery Miller, ECS policy analyst, at 303.299.3665 or

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