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Civic Education Task Force Recommends Ways To Improve Hoosier Engagement

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Screenshot of Zoom call
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Indiana regularly reports some of the worst voter turnout and civic engagement in the country. And a group of state leaders – from government, law, business and education – want to improve that record, starting with Hoosier schools.

The Indiana Civic Education Task Force issued a series of recommendations this week to boost civic engagement.

Brown County Schools Superintendent Laura Hammack said civics education and social studies have fallen away. But she said the way to improve is not by thinking of civics as an add-on.

“We think that there is a way to align all of the work and have civics education being a fundamental part of the delivery of that language arts instruction,” Hammack said.

Many of the recommendations would require more money spent in the classroom – whether through state funding or via partnerships with the private sector and grants.

Shawn Healy said it’s worth it. He’s the program director of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which has helped lead civic education work in Illinois.

“If you do civics well, students’ attendance goes up – we have less chronic absenteeism," Healy said. "Grade point averages increase.”

The task force recommendations are meant to be implemented over the next several years.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.