ERIC Number: ED484010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb
Themes Emphasized in Social Studies and Civics Classes: New Evidence. CIRCLE Fact Sheet.
Levine, Peter; Lopez, Mark Hugo
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
A survey conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government and The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) reveals unprecedented information about the content and significance of civics and social studies classes today. Overall, the curriculum and message of history and social studies classes appear to be more traditionalist than is commonly supposed. On a range of civic engagement measures, the survey suggests that those who choose to take civics, politics, or government classes are much more engaged in community affairs and politics than other young people. There have recently been strong criticisms suggesting that high school social studies teachers emphasize the negative aspects of American history and culture and fail to transmit an understanding or appreciation of American institutions. However, when a random sample of young Americans (ages 15-25) were asked to pick the one theme that had been most emphasized in their social studies or American history classes, their top choice was "the Constitution or the U.S. system of government and how it works." The second most common choice was "great American heroes and the virtues of the American system of government." In contrast, just 11 percent selected "problems facing the country today" and nine percent chose "racism and other forms of injustice in the American system."
Descriptors: Politics, Social Studies, Civics, Citizenship Education, History Instruction, United States History, Social History, Secondary Education, Higher Education, Course Content
School of Public Affairs, 2101 Van Munching Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1821. Tel: 301-405-2790; Fax: 301-314-9346; Web site: www.civicyouth.org.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A