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December 16, 2010

federal policy and civic skills report

Last April, CIRCLE convened scholars, civic leaders, and federal officials met in Washington to develop a federal policy agenda for civic skills. Thirty-three of the participants (not including any federal officials) jointly wrote and signed a report that we released yesterday. Some highlights:

"American citizens and communities can address our nation’s fundamental problems. But to do so requires civic skills, especially the ability to gather and interpret information, speak and listen, engage in dialogue about differences, resolve conflicts, reach agreements, collaborate with peers, understand formal government, and advocate for change."

"Civic associations—among other institutions–have developed their members’ skills throughout American history. But these associations are in deep decline (notwithstanding some important new forms of online association), and therefore we cannot count on the public’s civic skills to be adequate in the decades ahead."

Among the recommendations:

"Across federal agencies, develop common principles, values, and language that help build the civic capacities of civil servants and that nurture authentic public engagement. This objective may require both an inter-agency working group on skills within the federal government and convening others outside the government to develop common principles and strategies."

"Redirect service-oriented programs and opportunities so that they become civic-skill-building and community-capacity-building programs. Go beyond the 'service' language. At the same time, recognize that some service and service-learning programs already have strong records of developing civic skills."

Read the whole thing in PDF here.

December 16, 2010 12:11 PM | category: none



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