Civics in Florida

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					Civics in Florida
   An Introduction to the status of
    civic knowledge, educational
  requirements and the resources
         available to schools.

     The Florida Law Related
    Education Association, Inc.

     The Florida Law Related
    Education Association, Inc
• Private, nonprofit dedicated to education
  for democracy
• Originated in 1983 with assistance from
  The Florida Bar
• Efforts have expanded internationally

          » Administers 20 different civic and law related
            education initiatives for Florida students and
•   Public policy
•   Professional development
•   Curriculum
•   Scholarship opportunities
•   Government officials in the classroom
•   Partnership programs
•   Academic competitions and showcases
•   Student and teacher camps
•   Mock trial and moot court
Nationally Recognized
        Status Report

• Status of civic education
• United States
• Florida
        Nation of Spectators
• Studies document the limited knowledge
  Americans have about our government
  and the institutions of democracy.
• Most Americans do not understand our
  most basic constitutional principles and
  are disengaging from political institutions
  in increasing numbers.
Democracy doesn’t just happen
• What impact will declining knowledge and
  involvement have upon our democracy?

• Will our next generation be prepared to
  continue this experiment in self-
  ABA and Florida Bar Surveys
• December 2005 survey conducted by the
  Florida Bar reflected similar findings of
  ABA poll.
• Just over half of Americans could identify
  the 3 branches of government even with a
  multiple choice test and fewer than half
  understood the concepts of separation of
  powers and checks and balances.
    Status of Civic Knowledge
• National findings revealed that:
• 22% of Americans think the three
  branches of government are Republican,
  Democrat and Independent.
• Over one third of Americans cannot
  identify even one of the three branches of
        Annenberg Survey
• September 2006 national survey found
  that only a little more than half of
  Americans believe the President of the
  United States must follow the rulings of
  the United States Supreme Court.
• Rule of law……………
          First Amendment
• In a study conducted by the First
  Amendment Center and the American
  Journalism Review, only two percent of
  Americans polled could identify the five
  rights in the First Amendment.
• What are they???
           Civic Education
• Historic mission of American public
• 40 state constitutions mention the
  importance of civic literacy
• 13 constitutions state that the central
  purpose of their educational system is to
  promote good citizenship, democracy and
  free government.
    On the Decline Nationally
• A study released by CIRCLE and the
  Carnegie Corporation suggests that formal
  school-based civic education classes are
  on the decline.
• “Today’s civic education curriculum is a
  matter of too little too late --- consisting
  predominantly of a one semester high
  school government course….taught
  primarily in 12th grade.”
           NAEP Findings
    Only 28 % of 8th
                            Only 14 % of 4th
graders could explain
                          graders knew that
 the historic purpose
                         defendants have the
 of the Declaration of
                           right to a lawyer.

  Only 22% of 8th          Only 27 % of 12th
graders scored at or     graders scored at or
above the Proficient     above the Proficient
       level.                   level.
          National Findings
• With civic education declining, so too are
  students’ interest in public affairs, their
  political and civic knowledge, voter
  participation and attitudes towards
• As our democracy ages, our commitment
  to civic education appears to be fading.
Survey of 10,000 Florida students document
             least valued rights
     Status Report on Florida
• Surveys conducted by FLREA between
  2003-2005 found that school districts in
  Florida reported little time available in
  elementary grades to teach civics, mainly
  because of other FCAT priorities.
             Middle School
• Survey results between 2003-2005 found
  that less than 10 percent of school districts
  reported offering a separate, stand alone
  civics course in middle school.
• Miami- Dade county and Palm Beach
  counties both offer year long mandatory
  civics courses at seventh grade.
             High School
• Required instruction statute
• One half credit of American Government
  required for graduation
• Mostly taught at senior year
• Few districts offered end of course exams
• Example of differing model: Hillsborough
  county offers American Government
  course at 9th grade and end of course
    Sunshine State Standards
• Separate standards for civics and
  government for grade clusters
• New process currently in Florida to
  develop new standards for each grade K-
• FLREA on civics and government framers
  and writers committee.
• Civics and government not tested on
• No social studies course tested on FCAT
• Few districts offer end of course exams.
• Many believe we teach what we test….and
  that civics and government were not
  valued subjects.
   Required Instruction Statute
• (1) Each school district shall provide all
  courses required for high school
  graduation and appropriate instruction
  designed to ensure that students meet
  state board adopted standards in the
  following subject areas: reading and other
  language arts, mathematics, science,
  social studies, foreign languages, health
  and physical education, and the arts.
        Required Instruction
• (a) The content of the Declaration of
  Independence and how it forms the
  philosophical foundation of our
• (b) The arguments in support of adopting
  our republican form of government, as
  they are embodied in the most important
  of the Federalist Papers.
        Required Instruction
• (c) The essentials of the United States
  Constitution and how it provides the
  structure of our government
• e) The elements of civil government shall
  include the primary functions of and
  interrelationships between the Federal
  Government, the state, and its counties,
  municipalities, school districts, and special
        Required Instruction
• (q) A character-development program in
  the elementary schools, similar to
  Character First or Character Counts. Such
  a program must be secular in nature and
  must stress such character qualities as
  attentiveness, patience, and initiative.
    2005 Legislative Action
• FLREA, The Florida Bar, LWV and
  Common Cause worked as part of a
  Florida Campaign to advance civics in the
  curriculum during 2005-2006.
• Followed survey conducted by the Florida
  Bar in December 2005.
• The Florida legislature passed a middle
  school civics mandate.
             Simple line
• Months of effort to achieve
• Simple line in a massive 160-page
  education bill
• Page 40 of HB 7087
• Spearheaded by Rep. Curtis Richardson
  and Sen. Ron Klein
  Middle School Requirements
• 1003.4156 General requirements for
  middle grades promotion.--
• (1) Beginning with students entering
  grade 6 in the 2006-2007 school year,
  promotion from a school composed of
  middle grades 6, 7, and 8 requires that:
• (a) The student must successfully
  complete academic courses as follows:
  Middle School Requirements
• Three middle school or higher courses in
  social studies, one semester of which
  must include the study of state and federal
  government and civics education.
 District Options for Middle School
        Civics Requirement
• Offer a full year course in civics as is
  already done in Miami Dade and Palm
  Beach as well as other counties.
• Offer a separate semester course in civics
  now developed and listed in the course
  code directory
• Integrate a full semester of civics and
  government in US History
           2007 Legislature
• Great effort with leadership of Senator
  Graham and Congressman Frey to add
  civics and government to FCAT.
• Proposed bills and language did not pass
• Obtained significant visibility through news
  articles and press conferences.
     Meeting the Middle School
• What resources exist to assist districts
  with meeting the new middle school
• FLREA offers training, materials,
  classroom visits with government officials,
  and a variety of supplemental resources
  and programs to support this new
We The People…the Citizen and
       the Constitution
 Center for Civic Education
• FLREA works cooperatively with CCE to
  administer two important domestic
• We the People…the Citizen and the
• Project Citizen
Culminating Hearings and
    Academic Competitions
• We The People High School Competition
• Students from Florida have won the
  national championship four times.
  – Florida teams have also placed second
    three times and third two times.
  – Florida is developing a middle school
  – January 11, 2008 Orlando
    Influencing government
• Project Citizen
  – A middle school program in which classes
    identify a problem in their community and
    seek to engage their government, local or
    state, in order to solve it.
  – The students document their experience and
    present their portfolios in oral hearings
  – Opportunities for international exchanges as
    FLREA has partnerships with four other
    countries engaging in Project Citizen.
  Project Citizen
Project Citizen Textbooks
           Other resources
• Summer institutes at the FSU College of
  Law with unit by unit scholars and lessons
• Special institutes at the Supreme Court of
  Florida to assist teachers with instruction
  on the judicial branch
• International exchanges and partnerships
• Supplemental resources and academic
  competitions and showcases
• Government officials in the classroom
Government officials in the
Constitution Day
Academic Competitions
Law Week
           Student quotes
• “What kind of leaders will our young
  people be if they would rather vote on
  American Idol than in a local or
  presidential election?”
• -Hugo Gonzalez
• Student at Glades Middle School
     Academic Supplements
• United States Senate Youth Program
• Democracy Camp
• Professional Development
• Lessons and materials
• Mock trial and moot court competitions
• Constitution Day programs at the Supreme
  Court (September 24)
• Justice Teaching
     International Initiatives

• Civitas International civic education
  exchange program

• Panama, Peru, Hungary and Romania
• Justice Teaching Institute
  – 25 teachers are brought to Tallahassee to
    receive hands-on training from the Florida
    Supreme Court justices.
  – Lessons center around a particular case on
    the Court’s docket and curriculum culminates
    in the teachers observing the oral arguments
    of that case.
Walking in their shoes
JTI Graduates
               Follow up
• Contact for program dates and assistance
• Annette Boyd Pitts, Executive Director
• The Florida Law Related Education
  Association, Inc
• Tiana McGlockton
• 850-386-8223

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