Education and Policy Leaders
Urge Better Civics Education

Andrea Billups

[Reprinted from: Washington Times, 10 May 2000]

Some education officials and public policy leaders are so concerned that students aren't getting sufficient instruction in American government that they have formed the National Alliance for Civic Education to promote teaching of civics in the classroom.

The latest round of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that the nation's fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-graders were less than "proficient" on a test of civic knowledge and skills.

o About one-fourth failed to demonstrate even a "basic" understanding of political methods and practices.

o This does not surprise observers, since only 25 states require civics education in their schools.

Charles S. White, president of the Social Science Education Consortium, warned that democracy in America "cannot be sustained indefinitely if citizens lack fundamental civic knowledge, skills and dispositions."