Indiana’s efforts in civic education part of national conversation

Indiana’s new civic education law will be showcased during the second day of a national civic education policy summit hosted by CivXNow, which is bringing legislators, educators and civic leaders from across the country together to discuss ways to improve children’s understanding of democracy.

The summit, held virtually, is featuring panel discussions and an address by Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, as well as conversations with such figures as Robert Gates, former secretary of defense, and documentarian Ken Burns.

Indiana will be represented by Charles Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation, during the panel discussion scheduled for Wednesday. The discussion, “Lessons from the Field Concurrent Session: State Legislators Panel,” will look at how statehouses are promoting civic education.

“I think we have a good story to tell from our efforts stemming from the civic health indices, then the (Indiana Bar Foundation Civic Education Task Force) and, ultimately, last session with the legislation itself,” Dunlap said. “So we’ve got a lot of good momentum.”

Overwhelmingly, Indiana legislators passed House Enrolled Act 1384, which mandated civic education be taught in the state’s middle schools starting in the 2023-2024 school year. The bill was authored by Rep. Anthony Cook, R-Cicero, and signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 8.

Cook was scheduled to participate in the summit but had a scheduling conflict, so Dunlap stepped in as the substitute.

“I’m excited to have that opportunity to give a little bit of our message and how it’s worked here in Indiana,” Dunlap said.  “Hopefully, again, this is not the end of the story; we can continue to build on this as we go forward … .”

CivXNow is a national cross-partisan coalition of organizations focused on improving civic education for school children. For more information on the summit or to view the proceedings, click here. 

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