Mass. Senate Special Commission on Civic Education

Headed by Senator Richard Moore, the Special Commission on Civic Education has met several times and will meet next on Sept. 10, 2012. Bob Kostka, MCSS Immediate Past President, and Norm Shacochis, MCSS President, are members of this Commission. The goals of the Commission are:

1. Construct a usable, working definition of civic engagement & learning

2. Review the findings of state-wide and national surveys of civic engagement and learning in pre-K – 16 schools and adult education programs, and report on common ideas, themes, and trends

3. Consider how to capture information on civic engagement and learning that can be accessed by various populations of interest (public schools, colleges, adult communities, etc.)

4. Research or construct correlations between civic engagement and learning goals and practices

5. Identify existing statewide conferences that bring together representatives from pre-K through 12 schools, colleges, universities, adult learning communities, and non-profit organizations to clarify goals, obstacles, and concrete actions relating to civic engagement and learning

6. Identify policy initiatives that are most likely to increase civic engagement and learning in a cost-effective and efficient and fair manner, based on the results of goals 1-4

7. Consider a mechanism for ongoing review and evaluation of civic engagement and learning progress and barriers for pre-K – 16 and adult/continuing education

8. Consider a program to encourage civic education and engagement for the adult population


The Special Commission has developed the following Draft Recommendations based upon the above goals:

1. Implement MCAS History Standards Tests

2. Implement Civics as a High School Graduation Requirement

3. Implement Civics Requirements throughout K-12 public education

4. Establish a Commonwealth Medal for Exemplary Civic Learning and Engagement

5. Establish a Civic Learning and Engagement Honors Program

6. Expand the Reach of Current Higher Education Conferences on Civic Education

7. Develop a program for Teachers on Civic Learning and Engagement

8. Re-Energize Student Government Day

9. Encourage the envelopment of Adult Programs in Civic Learning and Engagement


All the work of the Special Commission is in the draft stage as of today (August 31, 2012) but clearly is headed in a positive and constructive direction. At the very least, it is hoped that the work of the Special Commission raises an awareness of Civic Education throughout the schools and aids in the healing of the marginalized Social Studies in our schools.

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