What does 'civics' mean in the 21st century? As our need for the practice of good citizenship and self-governance increases, a new interest in 'civics' may be taking hold.
Civics, in an education context, is often called 'civic learning.' ICivics is a nonprofit entity founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that promotes civic education in America's high schools and middle school.
Campus Compact is a national organization that promotes civic engagement and community service as an essential part of higher education. (The Eastern Regional Conference for Campus Compact takes place in Newark on October 14-16, 2015.)
CivicStory's view of civics, articulated in our mission statement is: "the practice of good citizenship, the creative role of citizens in transforming their communities, and the responsibilities of ordinary citizens in public life."
In October 2013, NJ Arts News, (CivicStory's precursor) co-presented a forum entitled Civics-Based News: Urgency and Opportunity at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, co-sponsored by Princeton University's Pace Center for Civic Engagement.
Panelists including Goucher College president Sanford Ungar and The Star-Ledger editor Rosemary Parrillo, explored the relationships among civic information, news, and democratic vitality.
Panelist Melissa Lane (Professor of Politics, Princeton University) emphasized the role of individual citizens in pivoting society toward ecological health and vitality, and the importance of knowing that individual actions can make a difference. In her book, Eco-Republic, Lane writes, "political entities, for their part, are defined by capacity rather than agency; structures give us the possibility of action, but only agents within them can make action happen."
In the 21st century, civic learning should include environmental literacy, humanities, arts, and community service - all part of the broad range of experience and knowledge citizens need to self-govern effectively.