Civics Moves Up in Class

EDUCATION

After years on the back burner of the nation’s educational agenda, civics is making a comeback, with a number of states mandating new classes or assessments and a burgeoning national push for high-school seniors to pass the exam required of new citizens. (Wall Street Journal)

Use the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards to guidance helping students prepare for civic life.

Helping students understand how ideas such as liberty and responsibility change across time and space is a key concept in civics—and geography! Photograph by Kristen Bednarz, National Geographic

Helping students understand how ideas such as liberty and responsibility change across time and space is a key concept in civics—and geography!
Photograph by Kristen Bednarz, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • What is civics?
    • According to our glossary, civics is the “study of the rights and responsibilities of citizens of a nation, state, or other form of government.”

 

  • Skim through the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. (Start on page 30 to focus on civics, and consult page 32 for the suggested standards.) What are some subjects that civics students may study?
    • participation. How do different citizens (such as elected officials, kids, voters, or immigrants) contribute to the rules of society?
    • government. What are the three branches of the U.S. government and how do they work together? What are some examples of global, national, and local laws, treaties, and constitutions?
    • markets. How do economics, banking, and finance contribute to the way communities function?
    • courts and legal systems. How are laws created, and how is justice served by different court systems (such as federal, state, military, or small-claims)?
    • other nations’ systems and practices. How do ideas such as freedom and responsibility change around the world?
    • international institutions. What are some examples of international organizations, and what are their goals?
    • current events. What are global, national, and local news stories? What makes these events “news”? How do different current events impact the lives of citizens around the world?

 

 

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Wall Street Journal: Civics Instruction Moves Up in Class

Nat Geo: The College, Career & Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Education Commission of the States: Standard High School Graduation Requirements (50-state)

Education Commission of the States: High School Graduation Requirements – Citizenship

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