LWVKY Civics Education Position
Adopted December 2013
The League of Women Voters of Kentucky believes that schools have a crucial role in preparing students to be informed and engaged citizens.
Civics education should focus on knowledge and understanding of governments (e.g., local, state, national and other forms), including their structures, functions, and effects.
Effective civics education includes preparing students with the skills to participate critically and solve problems in civic life, and it provides practice for students working cooperatively in a community of citizens with rights and responsibilities.
Civics education should be integrated with history, geography, and economics instruction throughout elementary, middle, and high school instruction. An additional course (or courses) in civics or government should be available in high school to further prepare students for their roles as citizens.
When students graduate from high school, they should have acquired the following:
• the knowledge to influence the legislative process on issues of importance to themselves as well as others;
• the motivation to be responsible citizens involved in providing for the general welfare of people;
• the skills, inclinations, and self-confidence to participate as informed citizens in the electoral, legislative, judicial, and administrative processes of government;
• the process skills to work on projects cooperatively in various size group activities;
• sufficient background knowledge of history and politics to understand the effects of voting on their own and others’ lives.
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Civics Education Study
Help the LWV save American Democracy:
The League of Women Voters (LWV) was founded with the purposes of defending voting rights and educating voters believing that an informed citizenry is essential for successful democracy. Kentucky League members will begin evaluating civics education in Kentucky schools this fall. Each Kentucky League will discuss and attempt to find consensus on 10 study questions that will establish League expectations for civics education. This first phase of the study asks about the role of Schools in Civic Education and what Kentucky students should be learning. It is important that all League members (who possibly can) participate in making the decisions. Please contact your League for times and places. The discussion is part of the study. Following are the Civics Education Study Consensus Questions:
What is the Role of Schools in a Democracy?
1. Should schools prepare students to be informed and engaged citizens?
2. Should civics education be focused on knowledge and understanding of governments (e.g., U.S. local, state, and national and other forms), including their structures, functions, and effects?
3. Should civics include preparing students with the skills to participate critically and solve problems in civic life?
4. Should schools provide practice in working cooperatively as a community of citizens with rights and responsibilities?
5. Should civics be taught as a separate course (e.g., 10th grade Civics), or should civics be integrated with history, geography, and economics throughout elementary, middle, and high school?
Should high school graduates have learned the following?
6. The ability to influence the legislative process on an issue of importance to themselves as well as others.
7. To be responsible citizens involved in providing for the general welfare.
8. The skills, inclinations, and self-confidence to participate as informed citizens in the electoral, legislative, judicial, and administrate processes of government.
9. To work on projects cooperatively in various size group activities.
10. To understand the effects of voting on their own and others lives.
Members, please plan on attending the meetings of your League in the consensus. If you would like to read background materials that will better prepare you to contribute to the discussions, you may want to look at the Civics Ed Study resource materials:
How does LWVKY plan to use this study?
When all KY Leagues have submitted their consensus results, they will be combined and, based on the results, the LWVKY Board will adopt a Kentucky League position on the role of schools and the desired goals of civic education. Further study or action will be based on that approved position.
1. Completing the study: The results of this first consensus will be used as criteria for the Kentucky Leagues to proceed with the second phase of the Civics study, which is to investigate and evaluate how civics is being taught in Kentucky. When we have consensus on what the KY Leagues expect from civic education, the Civics Ed Committee will develop a plan for the second phase of the study and send it to the local leagues by January 2014.
2. Taking Action: Any action based on any civics education position resulting from the consensus (like all LWVKY positions) must be approved and implemented by the LWVKY Board. Possible actions could include evaluating and responding to the civics-related academic standards (included in social studies standards) produced by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
From Beverly Derington Moore, Civics Education Study Project Director