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UMass Civic Initiative completes survey of Massachusetts high school civics programs

The UMass Civic Initiative, in cooperation with the “We the People” program, has completed a comprehensive survey of Massachusetts secondary school civic education. The survey of high school teachers sheds new light on the level, quality, and needs of civic education in the Commonwealth.

Although a final report has not been issued, initial findings suggest that although high school students in general get some exposure to U.S. national institutions and processes, they have limited understanding and exposure to state and local government and politics.

Of the nearly 100 schools that responded to the survey, ninety percent reported that all their students take a course that covers the development and operation of the U.S. Constitution before graduating. Additionally, seventy-six percent of the schools offer advanced placement courses in U.S. History, U.S. Government, or both.

However, when it comes to state and local government, only about ten percent of graduating students have a “good” or “substantial” understanding of how it works.

The survey, which will be released in full in the fall of 2006, also indicates that more than eighty-five percent of respondents wish they could provide a more comprehensive civic education than they currently offer.

For more information please contact:

Lonce Sandy-Bailey
(413) 577-4330

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