RD165 - Executive Summary of the Interim Activity and Work of the Commission on Civics Education – 2016

Executive Summary:

The Commission on Civics Education is the legislative body charged with (i) educating students on the importance of citizen involvement in a constitutional republic, (ii) promoting the study of state and local government among the Commonwealth's citizenry, (iii) enhancing communication and collaboration among organizations in the Commonwealth that conduct civics education, (iv) developing and coordinating outreach programs in collaboration with schools to educate students on the importance of understanding that (a) a constitutional republic is a form of government dependent on reasoned debate and good faith negotiation; (b) individual involvement is a critical factor in community success; and (c) consideration of and respect for others is essential to deliberating, negotiating, and advocating positions on public concerns, (v) identifying civics education projects in the Commonwealth and providing technical assistance as may be needed to such programs, (vi) building a network of civics education professionals to share information and strengthen partnerships, (vii) developing, in consultation with entities represented on the Commission and others as determined by the Commission, a clearinghouse that shall be accessible on the Department of Education's website to include, among other things, (a) a database of civics education resources, lesson plans, and other programs of best practices in civics education; (b) a bulletin board to promote discussion and exchange of ideas relative to civics education; (c) an events calendar; and (d) links to civics education research, and (viii) making recommendations to the Board of Education regarding revisions to the Standards of Learning for civics and government. See Virginia Code §§ 30-348 and 30-351.

The Commission met twice during the 2016 interim and held its annual Civics Summit in November. There were two membership changes during the interim: Ms. Betsy Edwards, Executive Director of the Virginia Press Association, replaced Ms. Ginger Stanley as a nonlegislative citizen member of the Commission and Senator Chase replaced Senator Black as a legislative member of the Commission.