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Indiana Bar Foundation Releases Recommendations to Improve Indiana’s Civic Health

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Indiana Bar Foundation and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, chair of Indiana’s civic education task force, have released a 2020 report with recommendations to improve civic education opportunities and practices for Hoosiers.

“There are excellent, high quality civic education programs and opportunities going on throughout the state,” Indiana Bar Foundation President and CEO Charles Dunlap said. “The area we need to improve on and work towards is not everybody has access to those programs … that’s something we need to provide more opportunities and resources for across the state.”

The report summarizes the work of the task force, which met throughout 2020 after being created from a recommendation of the 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index.

In order to maintain our “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” we need to pass down civic knowledge from generation to generation. Civic education is a fundamental building block that each new generation of citizens needs to be informed and engaged in our democracy in order for it to function properly and thrive.

The report produced several important recommendations that are broken out into two phases. Phase one of the recommendations are called to be implemented from 2021-2023. A few of these recommendations include:

  • Establishing a recognition program to recognize teachers, students, administrators and schools for showing exemplary outcomes in civic learning;
  • Providing more quality opportunities and resources for teachers to seek professional development in civics; and
  • Creating a sustaining group or forum focused on promoting and improving civic education
  • The phase two recommendations are to be implemented from 2024-2026 and focus on broader policy changes to educational standards, pre-service teacher education, assessment and accountability.

“These recommendations identify areas that Indiana can improve in, innovate in and restructure within the field of civic education,” Crouch said. “I look forward to assisting policymakers and community stakeholders in implementing these recommendations over the coming years and to improve civic education opportunities for all Hoosiers in their communities and schools.”

Crouch along with Charles Dunlap, president and CEO of the Indiana Bar Foundation, Dr. Laura Hammack, superintendent of Brown County Schools and Dr. Shawn Healy, program director of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation released the recommendations Nov. 18 during a virtual press conference. The full report will be available online here. A recording of the press conference can be watched here.

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