Recently, we wrote about the CivX Summit in Washington, DC, where the Lou Frey Institute was recognized for the work it has done to build a quality civic education program in Florida. The summit closed with a call to arms, a recognition of the need that there needs to be more than simple talk when it comes to the vital need for engaging, action oriented, student focused civics. This cannot happen without those with the power to implement change actually doing so. This includes those we have placed in positions of respect and governance, such as our Congresspeople. Thus, it gives us great pleasure to learn that action has begun. The following was placed into the Congressional Record on the 27th of September:
Our last new development should be highlighted: we are issuing to our Members a call to action on the crucially important aspect of civic education. We have formed a partnership with the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida. As you are surely aware, civic education has been one of the most important issues our dear friend Lou Frey has worked on since leaving Congress, and his institute has become a leading voice on this topic in my home State of Florida. Included in this partnership is the Civic Mission of Schools, which works hand in hand with the civic education initiative of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. We envision an extremely active role for former Members to play at the State level to be an advocate for civic education. Florida, of course, is a great example on how civics can be restored if there is a bipartisan consensus and commitment to make it happen. In addition to this partnership, I am proud to share with you that we are in the process of taking our highly successful model of the international Congressional Study Groups and translating it for the first time to a domestic issue: the Congressional Study Group on Civics.
What does this mean, outside of the lovely words and promises? It means that the Association of Former Members of Congress will be collaborating with the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida and our wonderful friends at the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools to work on models of civic education policy and implementation, drawing on the lessons learned from the good work done in Florida. Whether that means creating versions of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship in other states, or taking a different approach, has yet to be determined. One of the key points made at the CivX Summit, after all, was that situations in every state are unique and call for unique approaches. It could be the Florida model, it could be the Illinois model, or it could be something completely different. What matters is that the banner has been hoisted, the battle engaged, and fight for quality civic education programs across the 50 states has begun in earnest. These men and women, our former elected leaders, are going to be doing there part, and we will work to hold them to it.
What will you do to make a difference? Take the #CivX pledge now, and join the battle. Civic education has never been more important, no matter the ideological divide that separates us.