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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 CivLit@iupui.edu if you’d like to post your thoughts.

  • TV debates warp political process: Opposing view

    By Jeffery McCall on August 7, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Political wonks and junkies breathlessly await the first televised “debate” of the primary season. But sensible voters will do something more productive on debate night. Taking a walk or going to a ballgame will be better than watching 10 over prepared GOP candidates try to upstage each other with verbal brickbats and one-liners. Political debates have become nothing more than

  • Why Should I Care? Why Should I Bother? Caring About Local Elections.

    We have heard it all before; the endless list of reasons and complaints of why people don’t engage politically, especially on a local level.  The narrative seems to question, “Local politics don’t really matter anyways,” so “why should I care?” “why should I bother?”  People are quick to exercise their democratic right every four years in national elections, but why

  • No, We’re Not Arguing from the Same Facts. How can Democracies make Good Decisions if Citizens are Misinformed?

    As we all learned in high school, citizens of a good democratic government are well-informed, able to sort through the issues of the day in deciding who to vote for or what is a good policy. Thomas Jefferson, among many others, made that argument: “by far the most important bill in our whole code is for the

  • Houston, We Have a Problem…

    By Sheila Kennedy on July 17, 2015 in Civic Blog

    In my periodic rants about the state of civic knowledge, I’ve frequently cited the results of a test periodically administered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) as evidence of the American public’s worrisome deficit of civic literacy. As troubling as that deficit of public knowledge is–as much as it contributes to political polarization and our inability to hold government actors

  • Welcome to the second issue of The Journal of Civic Literacy.

    We are delighted to introduce this issue with an essay by widely respected former Congressman Lee Hamilton, a longtime and ardent proponent of civic literacy and civic engagement, whose Center on Congress has added greatly to the discourse over what skills and information are critical to the maintenance of our democratic system. The two research articles in this issue address

  • About Those Millennials…

    By Sheila Kennedy on July 3, 2015 in Civic Blog

    Oh those Millennials! We older folks wring our hands, ascribing to the younger generation all of the bad habits that our own parents ascribed to ours. One of the more popular accusations is that they don’t vote, and aren’t civically involved. But what do we really know about the voting habits of this particular generation? A recent survey shines some

  • Teaching Better Civics for Better Citizens

    The following article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 12, 2015 and was written by Sandra Day O’Connor and John Glenn.   It is re-posted here in its entirety: The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released last week (Week of May 4th), revealed that our country’s eighth-graders aren’t just failing at civics and history. They fundamentally do

  • An Important Update from the Center

    By Sheila Kennedy on June 19, 2015 in Civic Blog

      Let me begin by thanking you for being a strong supporter of the IUPUI Center for Civic Literacy (CCL).  Thanks, as always, for your loyal readership, we are constantly trying to post things that we think you as the readers would be interested and engaged in.  The Center has many projects underway both in the areas of research and

  • ABC News Further Undercuts Media’s Credibility

    By Jeffery McCall on June 12, 2015 in Civic Blog

    The real damage done by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos’ vacuous ethics – as shown by his revelation of gifts to the Clinton Foundation – won’t be to him or his network. ABC will still get its ratings. George will still make his mega- millions in his cushy anchor seat, convinced he is a real news reporter and has done nothing wrong.

  • A Win for Civic Education- Senate Resolution 150

    It has been pretty down on our blog recently with various posts criticizing the lack of civic education and the state of our nation, but have no fear.  Hope is here!  On April 23rd, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution further stressing the importance of Civic and Government education in schools.  The resolution sponsored by Senator Grassley of Iowa, passed with

  • From Edward Murrow to Diane Sawyer, the deterioration of TV news

    By Jeffery M. McCall on May 29, 2015 in Civic Blog

    The Center is interested in the connections between News and Civic Literacy.  We believe quality news produces quality information which ultimately shapes an educated populace (hopefully).  Read this latest op-ed from National Advisory Committee member, Jeffery McCall about the quality of television news. NBC’s high-profile anchor, Brian Williams, has been suspended for telling tall tales. ABC’s highest-profile news personality, Diane Sawyer,

  • Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America

    By Ray Williams on May 22, 2015 in Civic Blog

    There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason(link is external), says in an article in the Washington Post, “Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward

  • “Americans are Embarrassingly Ill-Informed”, but why?

    Given our recent blog post about “Why Hoosiers Don’t Vote” and the low scores in Civics on the most recent Nation’s Report Card Report it is easy to derive that Americans are uninformed and unengaged. Also, given the embarrassingly low 7% voter turnout in the Indianapolis primaries last week, it is clear this is not just a national issue.  Low

  • Why Hoosiers Don’t Vote

    By Sheila Kennedy on May 8, 2015 in Civic Blog

    The following post was originally published at sheilakennedy.net on May 6th, 2015 and is republished here with the author’s permission. Yesterday, I took part in a “Pancakes and Politics” discussion hosted by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. There were three of us on the panel–yours truly, Beth White (former Marion County Clerk) and Abdul Shabazz (local radio personality and commentator/provocateur). Abdul has actually

  • National Assessment Governing Board Releases 2014 Nation’s Report Card in Civics, History, and Geography.

    On Wednesday the National Assessment Governing Board announced results of the Nation’s Report card, and let’s just say the result are less than thrilling.  Read below for a statement from National Advisory Committee Member, Ted McConnell who runs the Campaign for Civic Mission of Schools. Statement of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools on release of the ‘Nation’s