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Status of civic education in Iowa to be examined as outgrowth of Congressional conference

September 24, 2003

Jeffrey W. Cornett, dean of the UNI College of Education, (319) 273-2717
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- In an effort to bring more attention to the need for civics and civic engagement of youth, the Congressional Conference on Civic Education convened in Washington, D. C., Sept. 20-22, sponsored by the Alliance for Representative Democracy, and with support from the joint leadership of Congress.

Representing the State of Iowa were: Jason Follett, delegation facilitator and a teacher at Perry High School; State Sen. Nancy Boettger of Harlan, chair of the Senate Education Committee; Iowa Secretary of State Chester J. Culver; and Jeffrey W. Cornett, dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

More than 300 delegates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in the conference and established the following findings:

1) Civic knowledge and engagement are essential to maintaining our representative democracy;

2) Civic education should be seen as a core subject.

3) Policies that support quality teacher education and professional development are important to ensure effective classroom instruction and raise student achievement.

4) Well-designed classroom programs that foster an understanding of fundamental constitutional principles through methods such as service learning, discussion of current events, or simulations of democratic processes and procedures are essential to civic education.

In recognition of these findings, the Iowa delegation plans to reconvene in November to examine the current status of civic education in Iowa.