Special Commission on Civic Engagement Releases Final Report

Professor Charles White served on the Special Commission on Civic Engagement. State Senator Richard Moore served as chairman for the commission, which released its report on January 28, 2013. For more, read “Sen. Moore of Uxbridge outlines ‘Social Compact’ report,” published February 2, 2013 by Worcester Telegram & Gazette. An excerpt is below.

Yesterday, after more than one year of deliberation, the Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning released its report, “Renewing the Social Compact,” and recommendations to improve civic engagement and learning in the Commonwealth.

The Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning was revived and continued under Section 106 of Chapter 68 of the Acts of 2011 and charged with studying, reporting and making recommendations relative to civic engagement and learning in the Commonwealth. The Commission was comprised of legislative, administrative, education, and special interest group leaders and officials.

“American leaders have consistently maintained that in order for our democracy to endure, students must be prepared with knowledge of government and the practices of an engaged citizenry,” stated Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, the commission chairman.

“Dismal student proficiency in these subjects and negative voting trends, among other factors, demonstrate that there is simply not enough being done to promote civic engagement and learning. The recommendations contained in this report will enable the Commonwealth to reenergize its focus on improving these critical areas.”

Following up to several recent publications suggesting a crisis in civic education across America, the Commission reported on improving civic engagement and learning in elementary and secondary, higher and adult education in the Commonwealth.

Speaking about the focus of the Commission’s investigation, Charles White, associate professor at Boston University said, “In short, the commission’s focus is on engagement in both civil life and the political life of one’s communities — local, state, national and global.”

He continued, “How do we promote this kind of civic engagement? Only through deliberate and sustained learning and experience in three domains: civic knowledge, civic skills, and civic dispositions.”


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