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October 6, 2005
Excerpts from Federal Civics


Excerpts from the Center for Civic Education (CCE) publications: examples of how the federal civics are designed to promote the building blocks of global citizenship. The CCE is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, first authorized under federal legislation in 1994 and re-authorized under 2002 No Child Left Behind. The National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) also awarded the CCE a $5 million grant this year.

*  We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, "What advantages might be offered by world citizenship? What disadvantages? Do you think that world citizenship will be possible in our lifetime?"  [p. 203] This civics textbook is published and distributed by the CCE, funded by federal law through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

*   Teaching Democracy Globally, Internationally, and Comparatively: The 21 st -Century Civic Mission of School: We should imagine a "slow but steady rise to prominence of transnational conceptions and institutions of democracy." The "new civic mission of schools" is defined as teaching "global" democracy. "In the past century, " it says, "the civic mission of schools, at its best, was an enlightened, open-ended, and thought-provoking education for democracy in a sovereign state, such as the United States of America, France, Japan, or India. The purpose was induction of each new generation into the democratic culture of a particular society and country in order to maintain the political and civic order or to improve it on its own terms. At its worst, the civic mission involved heavy-handed and mind-numbing inculcation of uncontested political loyalty to the state and society, democratic or otherwise." By contrast this century's education for citizenship will be global "for a world transformed by globally accepted and internationally transcendent principles and processes of democracy." (pp. 1-2)

*  Goals for Civic Education in the Republic's Third Century, by R. Freeman Butts: "Unless the profession and the public together alert themselves this time to the need for a 'history and civics lesson' about the First Amendment on religion and education, we may find the realm of public education narrowing and disintegrating under a massive conservative counter-reformation that seeks to reverse 40 years of liberal jurisprudence. We may witness the effort to excommunicate the doctrine of separation of church and state and condemn it as a heresy perpetrated by an erring Supreme court, which must be taught to dance to the true tune of "original intent" being orchestrated by Attorney General Meese and Chief Justice Rehnquist. This was one of the constitutional questions at issue in the confirmation hearings on Judge Bork." [Chapter 2, Part E]

*  Goals for Civic Education in the Republic's Third Century, by R. Freeman Butts, on global education, multicultural education and citizenship education: "My principal argument, then, is that these three major drives in American education are rightly interdependent; that keeping these movements separate is essentially artificial and constitutes a distortion of the logic that binds them together;" [Chapter 4]

*  Res Publica: An International Framework for Education in Democracy, Civitas Program: "Governmental and non-governmental organizations [NGOs] focusing upon local, regional, or global matters are increasingly challenging the sovereignty of the nation-state. These organizations compete with the nation-state as the primary focus of political attention by citizens and as primary agents in international politics... Moreover, international law created through international agreements concerning a wide range of policy areas has in some cases eroded the autonomy of nation-states to make policy in these areas. Examples include the environment, economic topics, and human rights, all of which are the subjects of international agreements." [p. 119]

The CCE is the author of the National Standards for Civics and Government, written under contract with the federal government. According to the CCE,: "The intended audience for the Framework [above] ranges from teachers and educational policy makers responsible for civic education programs to curriculum developers, and teacher education and credentialing institutions responsible for training competent classroom teachers. The Framework can also be used as a resource by any group or individual interested in democracy. We ask readers in any part of the world to comment freely and critically on this Framework on a continuing basis." [Emphasis added.]  Center for Civic Education, 5145 Douglas Fir Road, Calabasas, CA 91302-1440, Tel: 818-591-9321, Fax: 818-591-9330
 Email: cce@civiced.org


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