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Showing posts from June, 2013

CPS Civics Initiative Fares Well in its First Year

by Shawn Healy, Resident Scholar, Civics Program Last August, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), in partnership with the McCormick Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, launched the Global Citizenship Initiative (GCI) in 16 high schools. The GCI is designed to close a “civic achievement gap” as wide as those in reading and math, and to strengthen the civic mission of CPS high schools. Despite a tumultuous teacher strike, extensive principal turnover at GCI pilot schools, and a polarized debate about pending school closings, the GCI penetrated district high schools and prepared students for college, career, and civic life. A senior year civics course debuted at the 16 GCI schools last fall. It was taught by 21 teachers and reached roughly 1,300 students. The course content emphasizes both elections and public policy, and the curriculum leverages proven civic learning practices like discussion and service-learning. Students responded positively to the course. One wrote, "I find my civ…