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Civic education programs prepare students for public life

May 26, 2010

To the editor:

It was all in day’s work for the 21 percent that voted in the May 4 primary. Save the 40 percent turnout for the 2008 primary, the one-in-five ratio is the decade trend for those who vote in Indiana primaries. But changes to this trend can be made by encouraging civic education in the classroom.

The Indiana Bar Foundation’s civics programs support the education of elementary, middle, and high school students in Indiana through rigorous civics curricula called “We the People” and “Project Citizen.” “We the People” educates students about the Constitution and American life, and “Project Citizen” enables students to identify a public problem and solve it through a policy-focused approach.

These programs have impact. In a 2008 American National Election Studies survey, students from these programs demonstrated greater retention of civic and political knowledge than their peers, and engaged in greater participation in government affairs.

Lawyers around the state are currently working to strengthen civic education by participating in the Bar Foundation’s “An Hour For Civics” campaign from May 1 through June 30 (www.anhourforcivics.org). So, support civics programs in Indiana and heed the call by retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter to “make civic education real again.”

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Bob Beasley, president
Indiana Bar Foundation, Albany, Indiana
 

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