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2018 Brown Center Report on American Education: An inventory of state civics requirements

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Editor's Note:

The following is the second chapter of the 2018 Brown Center Report on American Education.

States adopt standards and coursework requirements to define what knowledge and skills their schools are responsible for teaching students. These state policies, when well designed, can facilitate high-quality instructional practice across the state. In the context of rising concerns over civics education, then, an important question is whether state academic requirements incorporate core components of a rigorous civics education.

Authors

In this chapter, we examine the extent to which states have incorporated recommended practices into requirements for civics education. In addition, we examine survey data to investigate whether student experiences reflect these practices. We find that while discussion and knowledge-building components of civics education appear common across states, participatory elements and community engagement appear less common.

What constitutes a high-quality civics education?

As with almost any attempt to identify a set of “best” practices in education, we find different perspectives from different experts, with a research base too thin to offer unambiguous guidance. In this context, we turn to what appears to be as close as we could reasonably expect to a consensus view from experts—the Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning framework. Motivating this framework is a notion that teaching students facts about U.S. government is a goal, but not the exclusive goal, of civics education. The ultimate aim is a more comprehensive and interactive understanding of civics. Specifically, the framework proposes three key components:1

  1. Civic knowledge: an understanding of government structure, government processes, and relevant social studies knowledge and concepts
  2. Civic skills: abilities that enable students to participate in a democracy as responsible citizens; and
  3. Civic dispositions: attitudes important in a democracy such as a sense of civic duty and concern for the welfare of others

Together, these components of civics education equip individuals to participate in our democratic system. The “proven practices” framework originally identified six practices thought to be critical to a high-quality civics education. In recent years, several experts—some of whom contributed to the framework—have proposed four additions to the original set of practices. We adopt the full set of 10 “proven practices” (PPs) as our model for a high-quality civics education, aware that research on this topic is ongoing and incomplete. Appendix 2.A provides details on the history of this framework, as well as the process that led us to adopt it for the analyses that follow.

While discussion and knowledge-building components of civics education appear common across states, participatory elements and community engagement appear less common.

The original six PPs, as described in the “Guardian of Democracy” report, are listed below as numbers one through six. A report from a 2017 convening, “The Republic is (Still) at Risk,” adds four practices to the original six, which we number seven through 10:2

  1. Classroom instruction in civics, government, history, law, economics, and geography
  2. Discussion of current events
  3. Service learning3
  4. Extracurricular activities
  5. Student participation in school governance
  6. Simulations of democratic processes and procedures
  7. News media literacy4
  8. Action civics
  9. Social-emotional learning (SEL)
  10. School climate reform

Notably, these 10 practices include dimensions of education that occur both inside and outside of the classroom. Two of the original PPs, extracurricular activities and participation in school governance (four and five, respectively), focus on activities that take place at school but outside of formal classroom instruction. Two of the four new practices, SEL and school climate reform (nine and 10, respectively), focus on promoting a healthy, safe school environment that fosters learning and respectful engagement with peers.

A clear message from this framework is that building a knowledge base is necessary but insufficient to equip students to participate in democratic society. Or, put differently, interactive and participatory components of a civics education are not optional, supplemental, or “extra” aspects of civics education that are nice to have. Rather, interactive and participatory practices are core components of a high-quality civics education.

A 50-state inventory

To what extent do state accountability frameworks incorporate these components? To answer this question, we examine the content of documents that form the basis of state accountability frameworks: high school course requirements for graduation, state social studies standards (K-12), and curriculum frameworks.5 (We use the label “accountability frameworks” in a general sense rather than in reference to specific accountability policies mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA].)

A caveat is in order here. This analysis is limited to the documents mentioned above. It does not include other policies and practices that could affect what students learn and do at school, but which are difficult to collect for this type of study. Instead, we focus on what we believe is the backbone of accountability frameworks at the state level—required courses, standards, and curriculum.

A clear message from this framework is that interactive and participatory practices are core components of a high-quality civics education, not just a supplemental aspect that is nice to have.

Along similar lines, these documents ideally would contain rich information related to each of the 10 PPs. However, certain PPs are unlikely to appear in this context, since these accountability frameworks generally provide state-level expectations for classroom instruction. For example, state policies seldom define details of schools’ extracurricular offerings. We omit from this analysis the practices that typically fall outside the scope of the documents we examine: extracurricular activities, participation in student governance, SEL, and school climate reform. We also omit action civics (but include service learning, a related but different practice).6 Ultimately, this 50-state inventory assesses the following practices in each state: classroom instruction (PP 1), discussion of current events (PP 2), service learning (PP 3), simulations of democratic processes and procedures (PP 6), and news media literacy (PP 7).

With a systematic review of documents for each state, we build on previous analyses of the state policy landscape in civics education. Earlier reports have provided examples of how states implement the PPs, offering recommendations for how to improve civics education.7 Others have catalogued state-level policies using their own definitions of a high-quality civics education.8 Still others have summarized components of state accountability frameworks, such as whether state testing in civics is required and whether a state has a framework for civics or social studies.9 We take a new approach by analyzing the extent to which states have adopted particular components of the PPs.

Data and methods

Table 1, below, outlines which documents we examined for each PP.

Table 1: Sources of information used in 50-state inventory

Practice Document type Source10
(PP 1) Classroom instruction High school course graduation requirements National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)11

(PP 2) Discussion of current events

 

(PP 3) Service learning

 

(PP 6) Simulations of democratic process and procedures

 

(PP 7) News media literacy

State social studies standards, grades K-12

 

State curriculum frameworks, grades K-12 as available

Education Commission of the States (ECS)12

Appendix 2.A provides additional details on the data and methods used, but we highlight a few points here. For classroom instruction (PP 1), we used the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) classification of high school graduation course requirements and checked whether one of the following courses was required for students to graduate from high school: civics, U.S. history, government, law, democracy, economics, geography, or a combination course that incorporated one or more of these subjects.13 For the other PPs listed in Table 1, we used a keyword search to identify whether state standards or curriculum frameworks discussed relevant aspects of each of these practices. For example, for discussion of current events, we searched whether state standards and curriculum frameworks (if available) mentioned discussion of current events or issues at the local, state, national, and/or global level.14

The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

We recognize that some states might have adopted rigorous civics standards in ways that escaped our view because their language does not align with the language of the PPs. This could be true, for example, of states that have used the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards in designing their standards or curricula.15 Published by the National Council for the Social Studies and designed through the collaboration of 15 professional organizations, the C3 framework provides resources to help states revise their standards for civics and social studies. Similar to the PPs, the C3 framework emphasizes both knowledge acquisition and active participation in civic life.16

While similar in their approaches to defining a high-quality civics education, the C3 framework is a different type of resource than the PPs. The PPs encourage incorporation of certain practices into civics education, while the C3 framework is a guide to revising state standards. In our state inventory, we consider whether states have used the C3 framework in designing their standards and curriculum frameworks (along with considering the PPs). Doing so allows for a more complete picture of whether and how states have taken steps to align their social studies accountability frameworks with recommended practices.

Findings

Table 2 provides findings from the inventory. It suggests that some—but certainly not all—PPs are widespread throughout the country. In addition, about half of the states have used or are planning to use the C3 framework.17

Table 2: 50-state inventory

State Courses required—
total # in parentheses 
(PP 1)18
Discussion of current events
(PP 2)
Service learning
(PP 3)
Simulations
(PP 6)
News media literacy
(PP 7)
C3 used in learning standards or framework as of Sept. 2017
Alaska X
Alabama X (3) X X X
Arkansas X (3) X X X
Arizona X (3) X X X X
California X (3) X X X X X
Colorado X (1) X X X X
Connecticut X (2) X X X X
Washington, D.C. X (2) X X X
Delaware X (1) X X
Florida X (3) X X X
Georgia X (3) X X X
Hawaii X (2) X X X
Iowa X (2) X X X
Idaho X (3) X
Illinois X (3) X X X X
Indiana X (2) X
Kansas X (3) X X X
Kentucky X X
Louisiana X (4) X X
Massachusetts X X X X
Maryland X (2) X X X X
Maine X (3) X X X
Michigan X (3) X X X X
Minnesota X (4) X X X
Missouri X (2) X X
Mississippi X (4) X X X X
Montana X X X
North Carolina X (2) X X X X
North Dakota X (4) X X X
Nebraska X (4) X X X X
New Hampshire X (4) X
New Jersey X X X X X
New Mexico X (1) X
Nevada X (2) X X
New York X (2) X X X X
Ohio X (2) X X X X
Oklahoma X (2) X X
Oregon X X X X
Pennsylvania X (1) X X
Rhode Island X X X
South Carolina X (3) X X X
South Dakota X (3) X X
Tennessee X (2) X X X
Texas X (3) X X X
Utah X (3) X X X X
Virginia X (2) X X X X
Vermont X X X
Washington X (1) X X
Wisconsin X (1) X
West Virginia X (2) X X X X X
Wyoming X (1) X X
Total 43 51 11 27 40 2319
Note: A previous version of this table reported that 41 states require at least one course related to civics education. It has been updated to reflect the correct count of 43, current as of June 27, 2018.

The most common PPs across states are classroom instruction, discussion of current events, and news media literacy. With respect to classroom instruction, 42 states and Washington, D.C. require at least one course related to civics education. Most states require two or three of these types of courses for high school graduation. Every state mentions discussion of current events in its standards or curriculum frameworks, and 39 states and Washington, D.C., mention news media literacy.20 Notably, then, the components most frequently found in this inventory tend to involve classroom instruction, knowledge building, and discussion-based activities.

Fewer states have incorporated participatory elements of learning or community engagement into their standards and curriculum frameworks. Just over half of states (26, plus Washington, D.C.) mention simulations of democratic processes or procedures, while 11 states include service learning.21 This unevenness is a concern given the sentiment among civics education experts that a high-quality civics education is incomplete without teaching students what civic participation looks like in practice and how citizens can engage in their communities. Of course, it is possible that many teachers incorporate these more participatory aspects of civics education into their classrooms even if this type of practice is not mentioned in state standards. However, the purpose of state standards is to ensure some universality in what students learn. Incorporating more participatory components of civics education into standards could help to ensure that the vast majority of students receive a high-quality civics education.

Forty-two states and Washington, D.C., require at least one course related to civics education. … Fewer states have incorporated participatory elements of learning or community engagement into their standards and curriculum frameworks.

Turning to the C3 framework, we see that 23 states have used this framework in developing their learning standards and/or frameworks.22 It is possible, then, that the majority of states have either aligned their standards with the PPs or used the C3 framework to revise their standards and/or curricula. If so, the picture becomes a bit rosier. Table 2 suggests that, indeed, some states that are less aligned with the PPs have used the C3 framework. For example, four states mention two or fewer of the PPs examined here, but they have used (or are planning to use) the C3 framework. On the other hand, even considering alignment with either the PPs or the C3 framework, there is incomplete coverage across states. Six states have adopted two or fewer of the PPs examined here and have not used the C3 framework. While many states mention simulations of democratic processes, 13 states neither mention simulations of democratic processes nor appear to use the C3 framework.

Across states, we see modest alignment with the PPs examined here and the C3 framework. All states address at least one of these PPs in their civics accountability frameworks. Further, 22 states have adopted at least two of these PPs and have used (or are planning to use) the C3 framework as well. The most room for improvement lies in the incorporation of participatory and community engagement elements into state standards. This gap suggests that, overall, policy lags behind the widely held view that these aspects of a civics education are essential.

Student experiences in civics education

In addition to this analysis of state policy, we examine which types of activities students report engaging in during their civics coursework. Similar to the policy inventory, students’ self-reported experiences reflect an emphasis on in-class, discussion-based civics education. Using data from the nationally representative 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) student survey on civics education, Figure 1 illustrates that discussion of current events occurs regularly. Over half of 12th-grade students (63 percent) report discussing current events on at least a weekly basis. In contrast, about a quarter of students (24 percent) report taking part in debates or panel discussions on a weekly basis, while almost a third (31 percent) report never participating in this type of activity. Over half of students (56 percent) report never taking part in role-playing, mock trials, or dramas. While it might not be desirable for students to stage mock trials on a daily basis, these survey results suggest that many students never have an opportunity to participate in simulations of democratic procedures.

12th-grade students reported participation in civics-oriented activities

These survey responses suggest that engagement with current issues outside the classroom, as part of a civics curriculum, is rare. The majority of students (70 percent) report that they have never written a letter to give an opinion or to help solve a problem. The proven practice framework would encourage this type of community engagement as part of a well-rounded civics education. Unfortunately, as of 2010, few students reported having had this experience.

Student experiences by subgroup

Given the racial and income gaps on the eighth-grade NAEP civics assessment discussed in Chapter 1—and concerns about a narrowing curriculum for disadvantaged students—we might expect larger shares of white and higher-income students to report participating in these activities compared to black, Hispanic, and lower-income students. However, this is not the case, as indicated in Figure 2. In fact, a larger share of black students than white students reports participating in five of these six activities on at least a weekly basis.23 Where we observe differences between groups, they tend to be small. The largest black-white gap in reported weekly participation in an activity is about 8 percentage points (16 percent of black students report giving a presentation to the class at least weekly, compared to 8 percent of white students).

Based on these survey results, it does not appear that white and higher-income students systematically engage in more participatory civics instruction than other students. We cannot observe details about the type or quality of instruction that students of different backgrounds receive, but nothing in these NAEP student survey results suggests an explanation for the race, ethnicity, and income-based NAEP civics score gaps discussed in Chapter 1.

Percent of 12th-grade students reporting “never” participating in different activities (2010)

We should note that Figure 2 provides additional evidence that a large share of students—across subgroups—are not receiving a civics education that incorporates community engagement and active participation in the classroom. For example, at least 50 percent of students in each group report never participating in role-playing/mock trials/dramas, writing a letter to give an opinion or help solve a problem, or going on field trips/having outside speakers during the school year. This aligns with what the inventory of state accountability frameworks suggests. It appears that civics education today still occurs, for many if not most students, through discussion rather than participation. Discussion of current events is important, as is classroom instruction in core fields related to civics. However, the central insight of the PPs and the many experts who have endorsed their use is that discussion alone is inadequate to provide students with the type of well-rounded civics education they need to prepare for lives as engaged and informed citizens.

What about the practices not measured here?

Finally, we discuss the components of the PPs that we do not track at the state level in this analysis: participation in extracurricular activities, participation in school governance, school climate, social and emotional learning, and action civics. Just as we measured how widespread a subset of the PPs are in state accountability frameworks, it would be helpful to know which states are encouraging schools to incorporate these other components of a high-quality civics education.24

Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate at the state or local level how widespread extracurricular opportunities are and how often students participate in school governance.25 Extracurricular activities and student participation in school governance are not typically incorporated in state accountability frameworks. As such, the availability and quality of these activities may vary widely. Devoting more resources to measuring the quality of civics education would help us understand whether and where there are gaps in access to these activities. A modest step forward would be to include questions about participation in extracurricular activities and school governance in the NAEP civics student survey and to provide state-level data on the civics survey questions.

It appears that civics education today still occurs, for many if not most students, through discussion rather than participation. But according to many experts, discussion alone is inadequate to provide students with the type of well-rounded civics education they need to prepare for lives as engaged and informed citizens.

With respect to school climate and SEL, some states are taking advantage of a new opportunity to incorporate these dimensions of student learning into their accountability frameworks. Unlike during the NCLB era when accountability systems focused exclusively on student achievement, under ESSA states must include an indicator of School Quality and Student Success (SQSS) in their accountability systems. States have broad latitude in choosing this indicator and may opt to measure non-academic aspects of their students’ education. By incorporating school climate and SEL into their SQSS measure, states could increase the focus on improving these aspects of students’ education.

There is room to grow in terms of state policy that prioritizes these areas. For example, as of 2017, all 50 states included SEL standards for preschool, although only four states had SEL standards for grades K-12.26 State plans for the new accountability frameworks under ESSA suggest that at least some states are incorporating these dimensions of student learning via the SQSS indicator. The following list indicates how states have incorporated SEL and school climate in their ESSA plans thus far through the SQSS indicator:

  • Measure of school climate: Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Carolina27
  • Rates of school discipline: California, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and West Virginia28
  • “Whole child” approaches: Washington, D.C. and Kentucky

Finally, action civics is one of the practices that experts have recommended adding to the original Six Proven Practices.29 Action civics refers to civics education that teaches students to participate in their communities and act as citizens, in contrast to traditional classroom instruction.30 While it is difficult to measure the extent to which these practices have been adopted across the country, we see signs that this approach is gaining momentum, through the work of groups such as the National Action Civics Collaborative.

Implications

So what can we learn from this analysis? A seeming consensus among civics education experts has taken shape in recent years, reflected in the “proven practices” and C3 frameworks: High-quality civics education includes a solid foundation of knowledge, discussion of relevant issues, interactive learning, and participation in the community. The inventory here suggests that state policy reflects, at least in part, components of these frameworks. At the same time, in terms of both state policy and student experiences, civics instruction is still more likely to incorporate traditional, discussion-based instruction than interactive activities or community engagement.

High-quality civics education includes a solid foundation of knowledge, discussion of relevant issues, interactive learning, and participation in the community.

Nonetheless, we find reason to be optimistic. An expanding coalition of researchers and practitioners continues to create resources to help educators teach students how to participate in their communities, in the political process, and in the civic life of the United States. State policy, including subject-area course requirements, standards, and curriculum frameworks, can be an important lever in delivering high-quality civics education to all students. Though adoption of the practices discussed here is not universal, state education leaders across the country have incorporated interactive practices and community engagement into their accountability frameworks. This progress suggests that through continued revisions and updates in state policy, we may gradually see widespread adoption of the practices that experts recommend. Some practices, like participation in extracurricular activities and school climate reform, may not lend themselves to adoption in state standards or curriculum frameworks. In this case, states may turn to other types of policy levers, like grants, or new components of the accountability system, like the SQSS indicator, to incentivize districts to focus on these components of civics education.

While the transition from NCLB to ESSA granted states more flexibility in designing their accountability systems, measures of student achievement and school performance are, in large part, still tethered to performance on math and English language arts assessments. Still, this transition period between the NCLB and ESSA eras has provided state leaders with an opportunity to consider how to deliver high-quality education to all students. With respect to civics education, for many states, a crucial next step will be to incorporate recommended practices in their high school graduation course requirements, standards, and/or curriculum frameworks. This is not the only important step—others might include addressing pre-service training, professional development, and the resources available to support civics education—but it is a critical one to ensure that schools are helping to instill the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for active, successful civic participation. 

Read the next section of the 2018 Brown Center Report, or visit the full report page.


References

Approved ESSA Plans: Explainer and Key Takeaways From Each State. (2018). Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/key-takeaways-state-essa-plans.html.

Baumann, P. & Brennan, J. (2017). State Civic Education Policy: Framework and gap analysis tool. Education Commission of the States.

Brennan, J. & Railey, H. (2017). Education Trends. Education Commission of the States.

California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. (2005). The California Survey of Civic Education.

Civic Education Policies: State standards include civics or citizenship education. (2016). Education Commission of the States, 50-State Comparison. http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/MBQuest2RTANW?Rep=CIP1602S.

Civic Education Policies: Curriculum frameworks include civics or citizenship education. (2016). Education Commission of the States, 50-State Comparison. http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/MBQuest2RTANW?Rep=CIP1603S.

Cohen, J., McCabe, L., Michelli, N. M., & Pickeral, T. (2009). School climate: Research, policy, practice, and teacher education. Teachers college record, 111(1), 180-213.

Gingold, J. (2013). Building an evidence-based practice of action civics: The current state of assessments and recommendation for the future. CIRCLE Working Paper, No. 78.

Godsay, S., Henderson, W., Levine, P., & Littenberg-Tobias, J. (2012). State Civic Education Requirements. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools. (2011). Ed. Jonathan Gould. The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.

Guilfoile, L. & Delander, B. (2014). Guidebook: Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning. Education Commission of the States and National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement.

Jones, S. & Doolittle, E. (2017). Social and emotional learning: Introducing the Issue in Social and Emotional Learning, Vol. 27 No. 1. http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/FOC-Spring-Vol27-No1-Compiled-Future-of-Children-spring-2017.pdf.

Levine, P. & Kawashima-Ginsberg, K. (2017). The Republic is (Still) at Risk—and Civics is Part of the Solution. Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University.

National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). (2018). State Policy Database: Graduation Requirements. http://statepolicies.nasbe.org/college-careers/categories/graduation-requirements.

National Action Civics Collaborative. (n.d.). http://actioncivicscollaborative.org/about-us/mission/.

National Council for the Social Studies. (n.d.). College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. https://www.socialstudies.org/C3.

National Youth Leadership Council. (2008). K-12 Service Learning Standards for Quality Practice.

Osher, D., Kidron, Y., Brackett, M., Dymnicki, A., Jones, S., & Weissberg, R. (2016). Advancing the Science and Practice of Social and Emotional Learning: Looking Back and Moving Forward. Review of Research in Education 40: 644–81.

Shapiro, S. & Brown, C. (2018). The State of Civics Education. Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2018/02/21/446857/state-civics-education/.

Stanford History Education Group. (2016). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. https://stacks.stanford.edu/file/druid:fv751yt5934/SHEG%20Evaluating%20Information%20Online.pdf.

U.S. Department of Education. (2018). ESSA State Plan Submission. https://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplan17/statesubmission.html.

Whitehouse, E., Baumann, P., & Brennan, J. (2017). State Civic Education Toolkit. The Council of State Governments and Education Commission of the States.

Footnotes

  1. Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools (2011).
  2. Levine & Kawashima-Ginsberg (2017).
  3. According to “Guardian of Democracy” (2011), service learning is “an instructional methodology that makes intentional links between the academic curriculum and student work that benefits the community by providing meaningful opportunities for students to apply what they learn to issues that matter to them” (p. 29).
  4. This practice refers to teaching students to identify sources of bias in the news and, more recently, refers to identifying “fake” news, particularly online. See Appendix 2.A for details on coding this practice.
  5. See Appendix 2.A for discussion of why we focus on these types of documents. We do not analyze the content of state assessments here. While state assessments are a component of accountability frameworks, we focus on the type of instruction that states require in civics education rather than on the specific content knowledge assessed on state exams. For a discussion of state civics assessments, see Brennan & Railey (2017).
  6. Action civics builds on the service learning approach through curricula that incorporate civic engagement and participation in students’ communities. We discuss action civics in more detail later in this chapter.
  7. Whitehouse et al. (2017).
  8. Shapiro & Brown (2018).
  9. “The Republic is (Still) at Risk” (2017).
  10. The Education Commission of the States maintains an extensive database of state policies related to standards, curriculum, and course requirements, and the National Association of State Boards of Education similarly maintains a database of high school graduation requirements, including those for social studies and civics.
  11. We used the NASBE classification of high school courses and graduation requirements. See http://statepolicies.nasbe.org/college-careers/categories/graduation-requirements.
  12. For one state, New Mexico, the link to state standards via ECS did not direct us to the standards. As a result, we identified the state’s social studies standards through a Google search.
  13. We identified these courses based on the courses listed in the “Guardian of Democracy” report that discussed in depth the Six Proven Practices.
  14. Please see Appendix 2.A for a full description of the methodology, coding protocol, and search terms.
  15. For these data, we rely on Appendix A in the report “The Republic is (Still) at Risk.”
  16. See https://www.socialstudies.org/C3.
  17. Mentioning a practice in standards or a curriculum framework does not imply that the practice is required. It may be a recommended or encouraged practice.
  18. Two states, Louisiana and Mississippi, have different course requirements depending on which of two tracks a student is on. Here, we included the highest number of courses required by the state between the two tracks. Louisiana also offers a track with three instead of four courses, and Mississippi offers a track with two instead of four courses.
  19. As of September 2017, five of these states were still in the process of incorporating C3 into their standards (Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington).
  20. Notably, including a practice in state standards does not necessarily mean that schools are doing an adequate job of preparing students with respect to that particular practice. Although 40 states mention news media literacy, research from the Stanford History Education Group finds that “young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak” (p. 4). The assessment used in this research contained items that gauged, for example, whether students could distinguish between advertisements and news stories. In light of this research, although many states ostensibly require students to be proficient in news media literacy, it appears that online news media literacy is far from where it should be.
  21. We used a strict definition of service learning. Based on the NYLC K-12 Service Learning Standards (2008), we distinguish between “service learning” and service projects or community service. States that mention participation in a service project or activity but do not mention how this service is included in the curriculum or do not require or encourage participation in service learning specifically are not marked as incorporating service learning in Table 2. In addition to the states with an “X” for service learning in Table 2, we identified nine states (Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont) that mention some type of service activity, community service, or similar phrase in their standards or curriculum frameworks. Using a broader definition of service learning, then, the tally of states that mention this PP rises to 20. This is consistent with the findings in the CIRCLE Fact Sheet on State Civic Education Requirements, which identifies 20 states with “standards related to service-learning” (p. 9). Even by this more inclusive measure, it is still the case that fewer than half of states have incorporated service learning into their standards. Some states may have a service learning requirement that is not mentioned in their standards. For example, the state of Maryland includes a service learning requirement in its public high school graduation requirements.
  22. As of September 2017, five of these states were still in the process of incorporating C3 into their standards (Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington).
  23. A larger share of Hispanic students report participating in three of the six activities at least weekly compared to white students. Further, a larger share of free and reduced-priced lunch-eligible students reports at least weekly participation in four of the six activities compared to non-eligible students.
  24. For a discussion of evidence that suggests participation in extracurricular activities and school governance improves student outcomes and political participation, please see “Guardian of Democracy.” For a review of research on social and emotional learning, please see David Osher et al. (2016): 644–81. For a discussion of the research on school climate, please see Cohen et al. (2009).
  25. The NAEP civics student surveys do not include questions about participation in extracurricular activities. However, the National Education Longitudinal Studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics do. In addition, states have surveyed their student populations about participation in extracurricular activities (see “The California Survey of Civic Education”). However, school-level data, by state, on extracurricular offerings is unavailable as far as we know.
  26. Jones & Doolittle (2017).
  27. This discussion of ESSA plans is based on the author’s analysis of approved plans summarized by Education Week and submitted plans and peer reviews published online by the Department of Education.
  28. California’s plan has not yet been approved.
  29. See this discussion in Levine & Kawashima-Ginsberg (2017).
  30. Gingold (2013).
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