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Civic Blog

Welcome to the Civic Blog and what we hope will become an ongoing discussion between our bloggers and readers. Visit often, share your perspectives, experiences and suggestions, and help us build a “civic” community. We seek a national conversation on a broad range of topics including education, science, politics and religion. We are always looking for guest bloggers. Contact us at if you’d like to post your thoughts.

  • Time for a revival of journalism

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on October 17, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The dim news for the journalism industry just keeps coming. A recent Gallup news poll shows public trust of the media is at historic lows. Just 40 percent of the public has a measure of trust in the media. This long-term trend indicates trust in the media has dropped 15 percentage points during the last 15 years. Citizens say the

  • Should we trust government?

    By Matt Impink on October 14, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Recently on his blog, Peter Levine dives into the longstanding poll question asking whether individuals “trust the government in Washington to do the right thing most of the time?” Given the longitudinal implications of asking the same question since the 1950′s, this the language has not been altered giving pollsters an increasing pessimistic look into the state of mind of

  • Hijacking Free Speech

    By Sheila Kennedy on October 13, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Recently, a Indiana State Trooper was sued for proselytizing a woman he’d stopped for speeding. The Indianapolis Star has the story. Not surprisingly, our homegrown theocrats saw nothing wrong with this. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said that although the traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith,

  • A New Voting Rights Act

    By Matt Impink on October 9, 2014 in Civic Blog

    In 1964, about 700 college students from around the country descended upon Mississippi for what came to be called Freedom Summer. At the time literacy tests, intimidation and violence kept all but 7% of black citizens registered to vote despite the fact that black citizens outnumbered whites in many counties throughout the Mississippi Delta. The students worked as organizers with

  • Eating our young…

    By Matt Impink on September 30, 2014 in Civic Blog

    There has been a lot of irresponsible journalism lately making sweeping generalizations about the so-called Millennial Generation. Beyond being annoying and contradictory to be called achievement-obsessed and lazy at the same time, there seems to be little interest in my generation to engage in the very institutions that our elders currently control. Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post summarizes: Distressingly,

  • Tests of Citizenship

    By Admin on September 22, 2014 in Civic Blog

    In a bold move last week, seven states launched proposals to offer citizenship tests for graduating American-born teenagers. Short of requiring it, the proposal offers American high school seniors a boost in their grade point average for passing the test with six out of ten correct answers. In South Carolina, three former governors have now publicly endorsed the measure: Former

  • Fear Itself

    By John Guy on September 19, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The only thing we have to fear . . . is public policy arising from fear. In early September, the Indianapolis City-County Council voted 19-10 to increase local income taxes by 0.5 percent to fund up to 150 new police officers by 2018. It sailed through. Members of both parties voted yes, and those voting against were relatively quiet in

  • Time for a New GI Bill

    By Sheila Kennedy on September 18, 2014 in Civic Blog

    I’ve been thinking. There are a number of policy changes that would make a big difference in the lives of poor Americans. There is no doubt in my mind that we need to raise the minimum wage. We also need stronger banking regulations, better and lower-cost day care availability, and improved public education in our poorer neighborhoods, just for starters. These

  • Commit to the Constitution

    By Steve Sanders on September 17, 2014 in Civic Blog

    When Americans debate important legal questions involving the Constitution – guns, gay marriage, police surveillance, affirmative action, to name just a few – our founding document often ends up seeming like a Rorschach blot or a cloud in the sky: everyone sees something different in it. A conservative activist who identifies with the tea party likely will have a different

  • Obama breaks his promise to be open with the public

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on September 11, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The U.S. system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convincing statements about transparency and open government. President Obama himself has claimed, “This is the most transparent administration in history,” and his press secretaries have

  • Presidential powers are widely misunderstood

    By David Adler on September 10, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The humanitarian crisis that began brewing last week in Iraq, with the news that the lives of some 40,000 religious minorities were gravely threatened by the self-pronounced Islamic State, generated calls from politicians and members of the media for a quick, resolute military response from President Barack Obama. The demands were predictable. Whenever challenges arise, Americans of every stripe and

  • In the Land of the Blind…..

    By Sheila Kennedy on September 3, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Sunday’s New York Times had a story about efforts to register voters in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the tragic shooting of Michael Brown. This paragraph absolutely floored me: “A lot of people just didn’t realize that the people who impact their lives every day are directly elected.” Said Shiron Hagens, 41, of St. Louis, who is not part of

  • Ferguson

    By Sheila Kennedy on August 21, 2014 in Civic Blog

    I haven’t blogged about the depressing situation in Ferguson, Missouri, for a number of reasons: first of all, unlike left- and rightwing partisans, all of whom are convinced they know exactly what happened, I’m not in possession of all the facts. So what do I know? I know that everyone in a position of authority, including the police chief, the Mayor and

  • How each state teaches Civics

    By Admin on August 15, 2014 in Civic Blog

    If you haven’t seen the new report out from CIRCLE breaking down each state on how it approaches Civics, you should. The latest changes in Civics Standards around the country are also broken down in the latest round research. American Democracy Project is also excited as it previewed the findings: Recently, CIRCLE conducted case studies of new or revised civic

  • The Rule of Law Applies to All

    By Matt Impink on August 14, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The events in Ferguson, MO have gotten out of control in the aftermath of the tragic shooting death of teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a local police officer. Last night while President Obama and Hillary Clinton partied in Martha’s Vineyard, the police in Ferguson wielded automatic weapons for crowd control on the fifth consecutive night of protests. Matthew