Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sandra Day O'Connor promotes civics education

Retired U.S. Supreme Court justice
helped initiate an online program
called iCivics because
not enough Americans know how government works.

This from the L A Times:
"It's very disturbing," said O'Connor, 81, the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court. "I want to educate several generations of young people so we won't have the lack of public knowledge we have today."

Nationwide, her work has influenced a new civics education law in Florida and pending legislation in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Civics education involves explaining the structure of U.S. government, including the meaning and influence of the Constitution and its evolution over time. Advocates also emphasize the importance of getting students to engage in the democratic process, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Philadelphia-based Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Limited knowledge about the three branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial — emerges starkly in Annenberg surveys, which also found that 15% of adults correctly named John Roberts as United States chief justice, but almost twice as many (27%) could identify Randy Jackson as a judge on the television show "American Idol."

Poor understanding of civics has persisted for decades despite increased college attendance, Jamieson said...

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