Civic Ed News

Projects in Civic Engagement Facebook page attracts 10,000 fans

On January 27, the Projects in Civic Engagement Facebook page attracted its 10,000th fan. The Facebook page posts stories and resources on a wide range of civic engagement activities around the world. About 360 fans are from the United States; the rest, from more than 40 countries around the world. At the top of the list is Pakistan, with 1,800 fans, followed by Egypt (1,000) and Somalia (650). One hundred fans live in Latin America and 14 fans come from Myanmar. You can become a fan by going to

Professor White to Present at CCSR Dean’s Seminar Series

Professor Charles White will be presenting at the Dean’s Seminar Series, hosted by the Center for Character and Social Responsibility at Boston University. The seminar will be held on October 2nd, 2013, and is open to all. White will be discussing the civic mission of schools in the United States, and practices that are important for a strong civic education curriculum. Learn more about the seminar on the CCSR website.

Ex-Justice O’Connor Urges More Civics Education

Former Supreme Court Justice O’Connor says civic education can help reduce dysfunctional extreme partisanship. Visit for the full story.

Projects in Civic Engagement Reach 4,000th Fan on Facebook

Projects in Civic Education has reached a Facebook milestone. Today we welcomed our 4,000th fan. The largest group comes from Pakistan (17.5%), followed by Egypt (13%) and the U.S. (7%). Fans come from a total of 45 countries.

It’s Not Very Funny After All

“The US Department of Education’s decision to indefinitely postpone nearly all national exams in civics and US history eliminates the only objective gauge of whether students are learning basic US history and the essential skills needed to be good citizens. Sadly, we already know they aren’t.”  Read more here.

Your future called. It wants a better civics education.

A new national initiative is looking at demographic shifts and asking the question: Should schools go back to teaching good old fashioned civics again?

Read more here.

Commission Makes Recommendations to Improve Civic Engagement and Learning

On January 29, 2013, 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. You can access the final report and its accompanying appendices by following these link:

Civic Ed Commission Report

Redesigning Democracy Summit

For the first time, national experts from the fields of policy, technology, and design will meet at the Redesigning Democracy Summit to discuss how to combine efforts to enhance public participation in our democracy. Using the 2012 election as a backdrop, we will analyze the current state of civic engagement, highlight creative promising practices to bring more people into public life, and envision new ways to reinvigorate citizen investment and leadership in our democracy.

This event will be livestreamed by WRAL News.

The point of this event is to make our democracy work for its citizens, so we want to hear your voices! Tune in Sunday night and Monday morning via an online live stream, generously hosted by WRAL News. While you are watching, let us hear from you! Send your comments/questions by emailing, or by using Twitter hashtag #RDS12.

Few States Test Students on Civics

With the 2012 election coming to an end, we find that schools are not doing much to promote student interest in the elections or provide civic education more broadly, new research suggests.

A report from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE, at Tufts University, in Medford, Mass., found only eight states have standardized tests specifically in civics education at the high school level, and Ohio and Virginia alone require students to pass them to graduate.

For the full report, visit

Civitas Lessons on Democracy

The Civitas Lessons on Democracy are a collection of lessons for young people from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The twenty-nine lessons and units of study in this collection provide an international perspective on basic concepts of democracy and engage students in activities that develop skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The lessons focus on the concepts of the Foundations of Democracy curricular program: authority, justice, privacy, responsibility, and rights. The Center for Civic Education (Center) and its Civitas International Programs partners developed the Civitas Lessons on Democracy in a collaborative effort under 2010–2012 Civitas: An International Civic Education Exchange Program grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. More than sixty-five civic educators from thirty-three countries and twenty-seven U.S. states contributed to the development of the lessons.

PCE Welcomes Former Chilean Minister of Justice – May 30, 2012

BatesFormer Chilean Minister of Justice, Professor Luis Bates is currently a Professor of Law and Director of the Citizen Educational Center (CEC) at the Law Faculty of Universidad San Sebastian in Santiago, Chile. He visited Projects in Civic Engagement on May 29th, 2012 to discuss the shared interests between CEC and PCE and the prospects for future collaboration.


New Civic Voices Video – May 29, 2012

The American Federation of Teachers has released a new video for the Civic Voices: An international Democracy Memory Bank project, for which Professor Charles White was director of professional development. It can be viewed on YouTube here. For more information on Civic Voices, visit their website.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Lauds Civic Voices

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Professor Charles White joined with partners from eight countries to celebrate the culminating event of the Civic Voices project. Read more about the event here.

Projects in Civic Engagement Reach 1000th Fan on Facebook

Projects in Civic Education has reached a Facebook milestone. Today we welcomed our 1,000th fan. The largest group comes from Pakistan (20%), followed by the U.S. (18%) and India (11%). Countries in the 5-10% range each include Indonesia, Egypt, and Iraq. The remaining 30% come from Bulgaria, Thailand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Tunisia, Armenia, Venezuela, Libya, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Republic of Georgia, Jordan, and Argentina. The word is spreading.

Professor White Speaks at @AMERICA

Professor Charles White presented on civic education for @America during his spring break visit to Indonesia. @America is a place established by the U.S. State Department for young people to visit and learn more about the U.S. For background on @America, see The New York Times. Visit to view the presentation.

Projects in Civic Engagement Hosts Russian Delegation

Professor Charles White will meet with a group of Russian educators who are on a fact-finding trip to the U.S. entitled “Empowering Schools through Innovative Management.” On Wednesday, March 1, they will discuss Professor White’s work in international civic education through Civitas, Civics Mosaic, and Civic Voices. The delegation members are guests of the U.S. Department of State under the auspices of the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission, and their program sponsor is the US Embassy in Moscow.

Professor White Travels to Indonesia to Begin Civic Education Program for Indonesian University Lecturers

Professor Charles White will be traveling to Indonesia this March to lead introductory workshops for a civic education training program. The program will provide full-time, Boston-based doctoral study for 11 Indonesian university lecturers over a four year span, beginning in the Fall of 2013. The program developed following a visit to Boston University from Indonesian delegates in July of 2011.

Read more about this partnership here.

An Interesting Piece from Sesame Street

An interesting piece was produced by Sesame Street, with the help of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayo, to help young children understand the courts through the case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Report Highlights Concerns About the Commonwealth’s Civic Health

The recently released Massachusetts Civic Health Index (2011), a report produced by the Harvard University Institute of Politics in collaboration with the National Conference on Citizenship, highlights concerns about the Commonwealth’s civic health. Quoting the report, “Once a historic tub of . . . citizen action, Massachusetts has not seen considerable increase in participation in recent years and has even experienced downward trends in many cases, which, which will be explored throughout this report. This decline could be attributed to a variety of factors worth exploring further, among them lack of civic education or lack of awareness of opportunities to become involved. Regardless of the causes, this stagnation is troubling.” The link to the report is, where the full document can be downloaded.

For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission

On January 10th, the U.S. Department of Education hosted an event titled ‘For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission.’

This link ( takes you to a number of key reports aimed at providing direction to efforts to re-invigorate civic learning and engagement in the U.S.

Professor White Serving on the Massachusetts Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning

On December 19, Associate Professor Charles White will begin his service as a member of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning.

Professor White was appointed to the commission as its civic education scholar by Governor Deval Patrick. The Commission, established by the state legislature, has an ambitious charge, including “assessment of the status of civic education from kindergarten through undergraduate college education . . . [and of] civic knowledge of graduates of public high schools.”

Newly-Released Report on Civic Engagement in America

In 2003, CIRCLE and Carnegie Corporation of New York jointly produced an important report entitled The Civic Mission of Schools that was widely covered in the press and launched the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the nation’s leading advocacy campaign in civics.

On September 15, the Campaign has issued a successor report (to which CIRCLE contributed), entitled Guardian of Democracy. The new report draws on eight years of additional research and experience and a broader network.

For information, and to download the report, go to:

PCE Welcomes Visiting International Scholar from China

Andy Du picProjects in Civic Engagement is pleased to welcome Mr. Du Haikun as Visiting International Scholar from Wuhan, China. Haikun (aka “Andy”) will be conducting research over the next 12 months on civic education in the United States and is being hosted by Prof. Charles White, director of Projects in Civic Engagement. Mr. Du is currently a lecturer in the School of Foreign Languages at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, as well as director of the International Student Affairs Office of the International Education College. He received his BA in English Language and Literature from HuaZhong Normal University and MA in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics from China University of Geosciences. Mr. Du is completing a PhD in Comparative Political Education with a focus on American civic education. His recent publications include: “The Development and Trends of Federal Policies in Modern Citizenship Education in United States,” Wuhan University of Technology Journal, vol.12 (2010) and “Tentative Research on the Application of E-portfolio in College English Writing Teaching,” China Extramural Education. vol. 8, pp. 43-44 (2008, with Zhang Dike).

The Projects in Civic Engagement Facebook Page Surpasses 400 Global Fans

In addition to 162 fans from the United States, Projects in Civic Engagement has attracted the interest of civic engagement Facebook users around the world: the total now at 401.  Second to the U.S. is Indonesia (27), followed by Bulgaria (25), Egypt (20), India (20), and Nigeria (19).  Others include Venezuela, Jordan, South Korea, Albania, and Iraq. The city with the most fans is Jakarta (23), followed by Boston (21), Lagos (18), and Sofia (17), tied with Giza.

The PCE Facebook page features links to other civic engagement pages and postings on the work of engaged citizens around the world. Check out workshops and institute events and photos/videos of PCE activities.

You can find us at

NAEP Civics Test Results Are Alarming

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) “report card” on civic education represent a “crisis” (see For complete results of the NAEP test, go to

Democracy and Civic Knowledge: Can we have one without the other?

See what Newsweek found when it had 1,000 Americans take the U.S. Citizenship Test and what the results mean for democracy:

Civic Voices Partner Awarded Mongolian “Friendship Medal”

friendship medal

By the decree of the President of Mongolia H.E. Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Mongolia’s “Friendship Medal” was conferred upon our CIVIC VOICES partner Dr. Stephen L. Schechter (standing on the left in the left photo), Professor of Political Science at Russell State College, NY, at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, D.C., The medal was awarded for his contribution to the development of civic education in Mongolia as well as to the promotion of relations between Mongolia and the United States of America. In attendance also was Narangerel Rinchin (purple jacket in the right photo), our Mongolia CIVIC VOICES partner.

A Cautionary Story About Education Reform

See the attached story about education reforms in the works for schools and universities throughout Iran. Civic education is serious business, as Iranian leaders understand. How seriously do we take education for democratic civic participation?

The new web address for our Facebook page is Come visit us for civic engagement news and events locally and globally.

Democracy is more than elections. The following piece underscores the urgency of providing civic education, particularly in new and emerging democracies.

Click on the headlines below to read the full news story.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students at the School of Education benefit from the community feel of a small school along with the resources of a large university. Our students are in the field in both urban and suburban schools as early as their first year at SED.

Graduate Students

Talented graduate students from around the world prepare to become teachers, counselors, administrators, and more in as little as one year at the School of Education. Our students engage in diverse aspects of education both in the classroom and the field.