June 4, 2021
This week Sutherland Institute released new civics education data showing Utahns believe that civics education is one of the top three most important school subjects – right along with math and reading – but that it’s not taught well enough.
Christine Cooke Fairbanks, Sutherland Institute’s education policy fellow, chatted with Jon Reed at KUER to talk about the key takeaways from the data, including the fact that parents generally have a high opinion of their schools, Utah parents want more transparency in what’s being taught, and that capstone projects or portfolios are preferred over standardized testing.
How to approach testing in civics education is particularly interesting, since Utah policymakers have recently debated how to assess civics education knowledge in recent legislative sessions. Currently, students have to pass a test made up of questions from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services to get their high school diploma. Some policymakers have wanted to replace the test while others wanted to abolish it altogether. Other advocates want to move toward “civic engagement projects,” though according to the data, respondents believe “activism” in civics ought to come at the very end of a civics education.
Furthermore, as news continues to crop up about controversial subjects being taught in the classroom, it appears that the data is right: A discussion about transparency in schools is important to many parents.
For more on this data, you can check out the new Sutherland Institute study here.
A better way is both possible and doable. We just have to be willing to be the kind of people who can accomplish it.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant religious freedom decision this morning, with all the justices concluding that the city of Philadelphia violated the constitutional rights of a religious foster care agency, Catholic Social Services, when it “stopped referring children to CSS upon discovering that the agency would not certify same-sex couples to be foster parents due to its religious beliefs about marriage.”
New education survey data released by Sutherland Institute show that while parents may not always have a high opinion about curriculum, Utah parents have a high opinion of their kids’ teachers. Even better, parents and teacher share many opinions when it comes to civics education and how to improve it.