Here’s Evidence Civic Education is Important; Only 26 Percent of Americans Can Name All Three Branches of Government

For evidence of the importance of civics education, consider the unhappy finding in the annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey.

  • More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment;
  • Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government.

Sunday, the National Conference of State Legislatures reminds us, is Constitution Day. NCSL offers a number of resources to advance civics education.

Constitution Day, celebrated on Sunday this year, is a national holiday to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787…

Federal agencies, which do not mandate or prescribe lesson plans or state academic standards, also offer a variety of free resources for educators and schools to celebrate Constitution Day, such as:

  • The National Archives educational activities and workshop materials.
  • The Library of Congress American Memory site’s numerous historical documents and lesson plans.
  • The U.S. Senate’s website on the holiday.

For additional information on civic education, visit NCSL’s blog archives for highlights on NCSL’s Legislators Back to School Program

At 7:30 this morning, TVW will broadcast live its “Celebrating Civics” event, promoting civic education programs. It’s timely.

Good comment from Annenberg Public Policy Center director:

“Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are. The fact that many don’t is worrisome,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania. 

It is worrisome. Informed civic participation is integral to developing policies that promote shared prosperity and expanded opportunity.