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iCivicsOhio
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 5, 2015
 
OHIO CIVICS PARTNERSHIP ESTABLISHED
(Columbus, OH) - The Capitol Square Foundation, the John Glenn College at The Ohio State University, and iCivics today announced a partnership to create a web based, interactive citizenship curriculum that will focus on Ohio civics education. This resource will empower teachers, students, and the public to develop the next generation of Ohio citizens. The site will be connected to the existing iCivics website, www.icivics.org, which contains civics curriculum on the federal government.
 
The partnership is as follows: the Capitol Square Foundation will provide funding for the creation of the site, iCivics will be responsible for the construction and development of the site, and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs will be responsible for the content and maintenance of the site. This information will be designed to facilitate Ohio specific civics curriculum to all Ohio teachers and students. Coupled with the existing iCivics content, the three parties believe the website will be an invaluable resource for education and development of civics understanding in the state of Ohio. The partnership also believes the iCivics Ohio website will help to develop and engage future generations to become active participants in their communities.
 
The partnership, bringing together state specific civics curriculum and corresponding federal civics curriculum, is the first of its kind in the United States.
 
“The Capitol Square Foundation believes there is nothing more important to the future of our State and Country than developing and maintaining an educated, informed and engaged citizenry. We are thrilled to bring together this partnership that will expand the Foundation’s mission, which is to increase public awareness of and to involve citizens in the history of the Ohio Statehouse and what happens there. We could not imagine partners better suited to achieve this goal,” said Charles R. Moses, Chairman of the Capitol Square Foundation.
 
“In taking a leading role in promoting civics education, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is providing the driving force for much-needed civics education in which the John Glenn College of Public Affairs is most happy to participate.  Justice O'Connor has repeatedly talked about the importance of increasing civics knowledge, not just as an exception, but for all our people and we look forward to working with her and the Capitol Square Foundation in this effort,” said Senator John Glenn. 
 
“The initiative reflects my personal commitment to expanding civics education for young people all over this country and illustrates the tremendous strides we can make through collaboration. I am enthusiastic about this launch and our wonderful partners, the Capitol Square Foundation and The John Glenn College,” said Justice O’Conner.
 
The Foundation recognizes the Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of Dayton, Ohio as a major contributor to this effort. The parties expect completion of the construction of the site in May 2015. This information will be available to all Ohio schools for the upcoming school year beginning in August 2015. An event to unveil the website will be held in mid-May (details on this event with be released at a later date).
 
For more information, please contact Beth Waldren, Project Manager, at 614-264-4483.
 
About the Capitol Square Foundation
The Capitol Square Foundation was established in 1987 to increase public awareness of and to involve citizens in the history of the Ohio Statehouse. Its purpose is to raise funds to obtain, restore and maintain artifacts and other items related to the history and enhancement of the grand monument and its adjoining grounds, so that the seat of Ohio's government may reflect the dignity of the state and its citizens. In 2009, the Foundation and the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board created the Ohio Statehouse Museum. The purpose of the museum is to give all who visit a greater understanding of Ohio government and what happens in the Ohio Statehouse.
 
About iCivics
iCivics Inc. is nonprofit organization that empowers teachers with effective and engaging resources to develop the next generation of citizens. iCivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to develop new and innovative approaches to civic education. iCivics’ game-centered curriculum provides K-12 students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action. Today iCivics’ innovative resources are used by over 62,000 educators and more than 6.5 million students nationwide, making iCivics one of the largest classroom-based digital civics educational resources in the country. For more information, visit www.icivics.org.
 
About the John Glenn College of Public Affairs
The John Glenn College of Public Affairs was founded on the principle that an informed and involved citizenry is essential for democracy to thrive. The Glenn College’s programs equip students with the skills to become tomorrow’s citizen-leaders or public service professionals. The skills taught at the Glenn College give students the knowledge for civic engagement and the ability to make a lasting change in their communities and the nation.
 

 

 

 
Teaching Better Civics for Better Citizens American students are alarmingly unfamiliar with the essential elements of democracy.
 
SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR And JOHN GLENN
 
The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released last week, revealed that our country’s eighth-graders aren’t just failing at civics and history. They fundamentally do not understand our democratic system of government, and have shown no significant sign of progress since they were last tested in 2010.
 
The scores from the test known as the Nation’s Report Card show that only 18% of the students are proficient in history, and less than a quarter are proficient in civics. For example, fewer than one-third of students tested knew that “the government of the United States should be a democracy” is a political belief shared by most people in this country.
 
Education policy leaders have correctly recognized the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to prepare children for the jobs of the future, and to enable the U.S. to compete in the 21st-century marketplace. The NAEP tells us that if schools ignore civics and social studies, they risk excluding students forever from American democracy. While we fully support the vast resources committed to promote STEM subjects, we seriously question the cost of doing so at the expense of the humanities.
 
Civic education cannot be an afterthought. Citizenship is a skill that must be taught over time with the same devotion we give to reading, math and the pursuit of scientific knowledge. We believe that it should be taught alongside and integrated with these subjects. More civics courses alone is not the answer. Civics education itself needs an overhaul that makes it relevant to digital learners. This is why we have joined forces to create games and digital content that meet students where they are—online and gaming—and help them create a sort of “muscle memory” for citizenship. We want to give students an immersive civic-education experience that inspires them to learn how to use the legal system, the legislature and the electoral process to solve problems in their communities and effectively communicate with their government.
 
As the next election nears, it’s not enough to have young people read about elections in history books. Digital games such as “Win the White House,” a product of the Web-based nonprofit education project founded by Justice O’Connor, put students inside a virtual election. They can learn how to navigate the process and experience its complexities in a way that is fun and engaging and on their terms.
 
Nationally, more than 72,000 teachers have created accounts with iCivics, giving digital civic education to more than 7.5 million students. It is now used by more than half the nation’s middle-school social-studies teachers, and that is cause for celebration. The question is how to reach the other half.
 
This month we are launching iCivics Ohio, a partnership between the John Glenn College at Ohio State University, the Capitol Square Foundation and Justice O’Connor’s iCivics. The partnership could give to every student in Ohio access to state-of-the-art digital civic-education experiences—from iCivics.org and other resources—that include state-specific curricula and lesson plans specifically for Ohio teachers. We hope that every other state will consider similar opportunities.
 
We know what works in civic education. The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools’ Six Proven Practices provides a blueprint that every state can adapt to fit its own curricula. The practices include: classroom instruction, discussion of current events and controversial issues, service-learning, extra-curricular activities, school governance and simulations of government processes.
 
Citizenship begins long before students can vote. Civic education will help them exercise their vote, and participate in our democracy, in an informed manner. The NAEP results indicate that it’s not the students who are failing to learn, but we who are failing to teach them. Ms. O’Connor, a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice, is the founder of iCivics, a nonprofit company producing digital civics curriculum for schools. Mr. Glenn is a former astronaut and former Democratic U.S. senator from Ohio (1974-99).
 
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