Former Pa. Congress members tackle civics education
It might be time to hit the civics books.
Citing recent surveys that found only 26% of Americans could name all three branches of government and 37% could not name any of the rights guaranteed by First Amendment, a coalition of former Pennsylvania members of Congress is joining with eight groups across the state to promote civics education.
A spokesman for the PA Civics Coalition said the group wants to help promote civics education in schools and communities across the state prior to the 2020-21 school year when state law will require that all Pennsylvania students in grades 8-12 be tested for civics knowledge.
“Our coalition members are excited about the various ways PA Civics can help lead statewide efforts to promote civics education in our schools and communities in the coming years,” former Congressman Jim Gerlach said announcing the initiative. “Great citizens are not born, they are made. We want to do all we can to help provide students and fellow citizens the knowledge, skills, and opportunities for action that will contribute to a more vibrant civic health in (Pennsylvania) and our nation.”
Former Congress members on the coalition include Chris Carney, Jim Coyne, Phil English, Jim Gerlach, Melissa Hart, Joe Hoeffel and Tim Holden. U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III and York County Common Pleas Judge Todd Platts also are participating in the group.
Organizations supporting the effort include: National Constitution Center, the Senator John Heinz History Center, the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, the PA Council of Social Studies, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Committee of Seventy and the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .