Showing posts from November, 2020

Take Two: Students Primarily Experience Civic Learning Opportunities in Social Science and English Courses at Democracy Schools; Cross-Curricular Applications Abound

by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director In March, the tenth annual convening of the Illinois Democracy Schools Network was canceled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, the Network is sponsoring a webinar series titled, “Every Teacher is a Civics Teacher: Best Practices for Civic Learning and Organizational Supports in Schools.” The series kicks off on Thursday, December 3rd at 4pm by exploring the intersections of civic learning, vision and leadership, and school climate. Subsequent sessions will take place on the first and third Thursdays of each month from January through April, each from 4-5pm, and feature civic learning innovations among Democracy Schools and partner organizations. In the spirit of the webinar series, this post analyzes student data gathering during the 2019-2020 school year by 17 current and prospective Democracy Schools with emphasis on cross-curricular integration of civic learning (also see my March 2020 analysis of data from

The Role of the Courts in the 2020 Election

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist The 2020 Election continues to be a teachable moment for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms. As ballot-counting continues in several states to determine the victors of both the presidential and some congressional races , a flurry of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of President Trump to contest the election results to provide a path to a second term. Last week’s webinar focused on helping classrooms process the election, both Catherine Hawke from the Division of Public Education at the American Bar Association and Dr. Steven D. Schwinn , Professor of Law at the UIC John Marshall Law School, made cameo appearances to provide brief comments on the role the courts may play in settling this contentious election and possible actions in the future. With the passing of a week, demands on the courts to get involved in resolving the 2020 Presidential election have become clearer. In this week’s #Teach2020 webinar, Dr.

Processing the Results of the 2020 Election: The Knowns and the Known Unknowns

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist Election Day 2020 has passed, but instead of closure, there are still outstanding questions about the presidency and control of the Senate and close races within the Land of Lincoln. Predictions of an “Election Week” have come true, and pending litigation around the election points to an even longer election season.  This is a teachable moment for #CivicsInTheMiddle classrooms. The latest webinar unpacked both the “knowns and known unknowns” post-election day with an analysis of exit polls with important information about the electorate and predictions of what 2021 may hold for state and federal government. If you missed the webinar, you can access a recording to watch at your convenience. Dr. Shawn Healy, Director of the Democracy Program at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, began the webinar with analysis and reflection on what is known. In a post-webinar tweet , Dr. Healy summarized his findings. Part

Biden Wins Big Among Illinois Students in Statewide Mock Election

by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director Election Day is here, but it arrived early for the 16,063 students in grades 6-12 that participated in the Kids Voting Illinois Mock Election , hosted in partnership with Students from 70 middle and high schools represented all eighteen Illinois congressional districts and 73 of 118 Illinois House districts. As we await official results this evening and likely throughout the week, let’s comb through the results of the Illinois Mock Election. It is our hope that they will serve as a point of comparison as you process both with students in the coming days. All student voters weighed in on the presidential, US Senate, and state graduated income tax amendment, but received customized ballots that included the US House and Illinois House and Senate districts specific to their school. For the sake of simplicity, detailed analysis of the national and statewide questions follows, along with topline results for the Illin