Readings for a Civics Education Discussion

How Well Are Schools Preparing Kids for their Roles as Citizens?

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010 Bill Chapman and other members of our Civics Education Action committee moderated a discussion about how Civics, Government and other social studies are taught; what is found in textbooks and on standardized tests; how the textbook and testing industries go about creating these ever more important items; what relevant knowledge and skills students have when they leave high school; and, perhaps most importantly, what can be done better and what we as a League can do to improve instruction.

These were the suggested background readings:

Edsource’s 12 page report, The Civic Purposes of Public Schools.

A brief summary of what Harvard researchers found about how teens use news media.

Reading news intelligently, “Detecting Bull” by John McManus.

What research shows about teen knowledge of the first amendment, and how that amendment can be used to teach critical thinking.

An insider’s view of the problems in scoring standardized tests.

Opposing viewpoints on bias in a High School government textbook:
Matthew LaClair, a high school student.
James Q. Wilson, textbook author.

How Texas conservatives shape what California students see in their textbooks.
The New York Times and The Guardian.

How standardized tests are created.


Help us continue moving the trend lines on graphs like these.


Youth Voter Turnout Increases in 2006.


The Youth Vote in 2008.


The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, grass roots organization that acts on selected governmental issues. It promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. Membership is open to all men and women, 18 years old and over.