by Jan Goehring
Delegations from 49 states and the District of Columbia enthusiastically endorsed the Fourth Annual Congressional Conference on Civic Education Conference Declaration below.
Delegates to the First Annual Congressional Conference ACKNOWLEDGED:
• The urgent need to address the low level of civic engagement in America;
• That civic engagement is essential to maintaining our representative democracy;
• That schools are essential to civic engagement to prepare students for the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship; and
• That civic education should not be incidental to the schooling of American youth but a central purpose of education essential to the well being of representative democracy.
And RESOLVED to take action to reestablish the historic civic mission of schools.
IN FURTHERANCE of this resolution, the state delegations have taken action to improve civic learning and practice since the First Congressional Conference over the past three years, achieving the following results:
• Each state has established an active and inclusive coalition;
• Twenty-three states convened statewide summits and other formal events;
• Twenty-five states conducted assessments of the status of civic education; and
• Legislators from thirty-four states have introduced sixty-nine pieces of legislation to strengthen civic education in the schools with twenty-four of these measures having passed.
The delegates to this Fourth Annual Congressional Conference on Civic Education intend to build on these successes and ACKNOWLEDGE the importance of the following policy areas to improve civic education:
• Clear and challenging academic standards that are concerned with the knowledge students should acquire and the skills necessary for active civic participation;
• Adequate civic education curricular requirements to ensure that civic education is taught systematically kindergarten through grade 12; and
• High quality professional development programs to enable teachers to deliver quality classroom instruction to their students.
THEREFORE, we the delegates to the Fourth Congressional Conference on Civic Education hereby REAFFIRM the principles of the Statement adopted at the First Congressional Conference and RESOLVE to take action within our states to restore the civic mission of our schools.
Adopted this 20th day of November 2006, in Washington, D.C.