More on the Importance of Civic Literacy. Seattle Times Editorial Identifies Some Positive Steps Being Taken in Washington

Previously we noted some unhappy findings from the Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey. Among them: the news that only 26 percent of Americans could name all three branches of government.

The Seattle Times editorial board also took note of the survey in an editorial headlined, “A great nation does not flunk civics.” As the editorial points out,

Civic ignorance is a bipartisan concern, uniting teachers, the private sector and government. TVW, Washington’s public-affairs network, promotes civic learning through its “Teach with TVW” project, focusing on hands-on civic education. As TVW President Renee Radcliff Sinclair notes, rote memorization in school is slowly being replaced by real-world experience, including tracking a bill and attending legislative-committee meetings in Olympia.

Other resources are cited, as well.

The Council on Public Legal Education has launched a Civic Learning Initiative, attracting the interest of Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman. The mission is to ensure statewide access for students to civic learning, supplemented by out-of-school programs. There’s also a concerted emphasis on outreach and teaching civics to underserved youth.


Opportunity Washington: Priorities for Shared Prosperity is a roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. Public policies affecting our three guiding priorities — Achieve (education quality and outcomes), Connect (transportation reliability and efficiency) and Employ (economic vitality) — can only be advanced successfully with the support of an engaged public. 

As we concluded in our previous post on the issue: Informed civic participation is integral to developing policies that promote shared prosperity and expanded opportunity.