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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608


11-16-16 Education in the News

The Press of Atlantic City--Political pupils: Civics gets renewed attention in schools

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ó The incumbent governor ran on a kindness platform and is just finishing up a year of public appearances and speeches. The candidates vying to succeed her are focusing their campaigns on issues including homelessness, recycling and bullying prevention.

Welcome to politics, elementary-school style.

Seven candidates are running to be the fifth-grade "kid governor" of Connecticut in an election that seeks to spark deeper interest for all students in government and civics, a subject getting less attention in American schools today than it did in earlier decades.

Similar efforts have sprouted as education-focused nonprofits and schools aim to prepare better-engaged citizens. Advocates say a need for more civic instruction has been apparent for years but was highlighted by the low voter turnout and acrid tone in the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

"Effective civics learning promotes civil discourse. Effective civics learning helps students develop the ability to discuss controversial issues respectfully. That seemed to be in very short supply in the election we've just gone through," said Ted McConnell, executive director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. "Basic civics knowledge is wanting throughout our country."

After years of decline, many efforts are underway to restore the role advocates say schools were intended to play in teaching students their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

The decline in schools began in the 1950s and accelerated in the 2000s as schools emphasized courses with more bearing on testing under No Child Left Behind, McConnell said. Where high schools once taught three civics courses, he said, it is generally down to one.


By MICHAEL MELIA Associated Press

Washington Post--Trumpís school choice expansion plan may face uphill battle

WASHINGTON ó School voucher programs in the nationís capital and Vice President-elect Mike Penceís home state of Indiana could serve as a blueprint for a Trump administration plan to use public money to enable disadvantaged students to attend the public or private school of their choice.

President-elect Donald Trump made clear that school choice would be an education priority.

Speaking at a Cleveland charter school in September, he vowed to funnel $20 billion in existing federal dollars into scholarships for low-income students. Thatís an idea that would require approval from Congress, which last year passed a bipartisan overhaul of No Child Left Behind and is unlikely to alter it in the near future. Still, there are smaller-scale ways Trump could reshape public education.

A first step might be asking Congress to restore funding to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the countryís first federally funded, private school voucher program. The House voted to extend funding earlier this year, but a companion bill has stalled in the Senate.


By Christine Armario and Jennifer C. Kerr | AP November 16 at 3:59 AM

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608

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