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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.

  • To test or not to test?

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 21, 2015 in Civic Blog

    I used to introduce my undergraduate Law and Public Policy class by administering a test–20 questions drawn from the citizenship test immigrants have to pass in order to become U.S. citizens. I stopped because it was too depressing. Foreign students regularly passed the test; native-born students just as routinely failed it. So I’ve been intrigued by the recent effort to

  • America is Doomed

    By Sheila Kennedy on January 8, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Before the incident–and attendant snark–went viral, no fewer than three friends had sent me news items about Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County (Maryland) Council Member, who threatened to sue a local journalist named Bethany Rodgers for … wait for it… using his name without permission in a newspaper article. Think about that for a minute: this jerk is an elected official. Presumably he

  • The Rolling Stone rape story debacle

    By Jeffrey M. McCall on December 29, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Journalism enters dangerous territory when reporters look to tell “stories” that are more dramatic, more sensational and more confrontational than what is provided by real life. Rolling Stone magazine found this out with its recent, misguided story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia. Sexual assault is, indeed, a concern on college campuses, and perpetrators need to be caught.

  • What is liberal?

    By John Guy on December 18, 2014 in Civic Blog

    “Why are television dramas always ‘liberal,’” asks a friend. “Not true,” I say, and soon recant, because I cannot recall a drama that is ‘conservative.’ What is going on? The answer reveals a lot about the human condition and civic interaction. A definition of “liberal” is “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values,” to which

  • Media contribute to nation’s violent culture

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

    The nation struggles to explain why violence is so much a part of its daily experience. Senseless murders. Sports stars committing domestic violence. Perpetrators playing “knockout games” on public streets. School principals dealing with widespread bullying. The causes of violence are many, complex and difficult to assess. One contributing factor to the disturbing culture of violence, to be sure, is

  • Republicans buy shoes too

    By Matt Impink on December 10, 2014 in Civic Blog

    To many kids who grew up in my generation, they remember Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever to play the game as he won six NBA championships during my childhood. Contrasting Jordan to Charles Barkley who famously said “I’m not a role model,” Jordan seemed like the polished embodiment of a winner and role model for kids. I still

  • Pass a Citizenship Test?

    By Admin on December 8, 2014 in Civic Blog

    A bill proposed in North Dakota will require all graduating high school seniors to pass the same citizenship test given to naturalized immigrants to the United States. Data shows that many Americans would have trouble passing such a test that over 97% of immigrants seeking citizenship pass. It is part of a growing movement in states that seek to require

  • Energy and the Marketplace

    By Sheila Kennedy on December 2, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Congressional critics made sure that Americans heard about the “scandal” of Solyndra, the green energy start-up that failed and defaulted on its government loan. But we haven’t heard much about the federal government’s renewable energy loan program since then–probably because there hasn’t been a subsequent opportunity to twist results in order to make political hay. Since 2005, the Department of

  • Stick to the facts on climate change

    By John Guy on December 1, 2014 in Civic Blog

    That which is certain is uncertain. The more certain and popular a hypothesis, such as climate change, and the more aggressively advocates ridicule disbelievers, the less likely related predictions will prove true. For extended periods, some as long as centuries, people, almost unanimously, held incorrect or unproven beliefs. They believed that the earth is flat, and that it is the

  • A Call to Service

    By Matt Impink on November 18, 2014 in Civic Blog

    Christmas ads have begun their assault on Thanksgiving, skipping right over the month’s other humble holiday: Veteran’s Day. After a busy week, I have finally caught up on this year’s noble efforts to put Veteran’s Day in our national consciousness. These efforts, however, go against the national trend of greater detachment from the military. In my parents and grandparents generation,

  • A Scientific Habit of the Mind

    By Matt Impink on November 17, 2014 in Civic Blog

    As the education system continues to evolve, the emphasis on STEM education must also evolve. The focus in the early stages of STEM education has been simply throwing money at the development of STEM education amongst teachers and students. Seemingly saying, “Holy crap, we’ll pay you a lot of money if you’re a STEM major,” the results have been disappointing.

  • What a lack of Civics could look like in your state.

    By Matt Impink on November 12, 2014 in Civic Blog

    The folks over at PoliTech recently decided to have a little fun at the expense of the students at Texas Tech University. Like Jimmy Kimmel who exposed how much Americans’ perspectives on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have been distorted, a young student asks her fellow students basic questions about civics and history. When I say basic, I mean BASIC:

  • Do we take freedom of the press for granted?

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

    Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is either a paranoid kook or victim of one of the most heinous government abuses of a reporter in American history. Either way, the rest of the journalism community should be jumping into action to determine the truth. Sadly, it is not. Atkisson claims in her new book that the federal government hacked into her

  • 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