National Civics Education Initiative

National Civics Education Initiative

The Civics Education Initiative is simple in concept. It requires high school students, as a condition for graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics, from the United States Citizenship Civics Test – the test all new US citizens must pass.

The Civics Education Initiative is a first step to ensure all students are taught basic civics about how our government works, and who we are as a nation…things every student must learn to be ready for active, engaged citizenship

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What is the issue?

Too few citizens know and understand basic American civics – how our government works and who we are as a nation. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, only about one-third of Americans can name the three branches of government, much less say what each does.

In addition, a recent study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that just over a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know that it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.  One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration. “Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). “This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education.” 

How will the Civics Education Initiative address these problems?

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions about the Initiative:

Who is involved with this Initiative?  How did it come about?

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