2019 FCSS Annual Conference!

We are all social studies teachers. We all teach, ultimately, the values of good citizenship, of civic life, and of what it means to be a participant in this great experiment we call the American nation. And, at its core, we teach our students that we should all want to be heroes in our own way. There are so many different examples of the ways that we as social studies teachers impart these lessons. Why not come share and learn from each other about this? Register to present, sponsor, or, wonderfully, attend and learn from your colleagues and friends at this falls Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference!


The Florida Council for the Social Studies is accepting session proposals for the 2019 FCSS Conference at Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida on October 18 – 20, 2019.

Submit your session proposal prior to June 1, 2019 –

· Presenters will be notified by July 15, 2019

· Presenters of accepted sessions must register by August 15, 2019 to confirm participation in the conference

Information about the FCSS conference can be found at: http://fcss.org/meetinginfo.php

Online registration is available at http://bit.ly/fcss19registration

Plan your stay!

The FCSS Conference hotel rate is $131 per night . The Florida Hotel and Conference Center $18.00 per day for amenities is waived. Reservations must be made prior to September 26, 2019.

An Overview of Civics in Florida

In 2010, the Florida Legislature unanimously adopted the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act, which created a new statewide emphasis on civic learning. It required (1) that all middle school students complete a required course in civics; (2) that all middle school students (approximately 200,000 per year in Florida) take the statewide End-Of-Course Assessment (EOCA) at the end of 7th grade, which determines 30 percent of their grade for the year; (3) that civics content be included in the reading portion of the state’s English and Language Standards at every grade level from kindergarten through 12th; and (4) that student scores on the civics EOCA be incorporated into the computation of school grades under Florida’s School Accountability System (CS/HB 105, 2010). The EOCA is a multiple-choice assessment with approximately 60 questions aligned to the Florida middle school civics benchmarks. The four reporting categories that make up the middle school civics course include Origins and Purposes of Law and Government; Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Citizens; Government Policies and Political Processes; and Organization and Function of Government. Since the implementation of the assessment, student achievement has risen across all demographics, and 71% of all students taking the assessment during the 2017-2018 testing cycle passed the assessment with an achievement level of at least 3 (on a scale of 1 through 5).

The Four Reporting Categories

The four reporting categories within the civics course were developed by a committee of stakeholders to address areas of importance within civic learning while also seeking to differentiate the course from US History and, to a lesser degree, US Government. While the number of benchmarks in each category differ, there is clear evidence of a focus on the workings of government, the roles and responsibilities of citizens, and what we refer to as ‘Founding Documents’, particularly the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

Within each reporting category are a number of benchmarks that address the content to be taught. It is important to note, however, that these benchmarks are further broken down in the FLDOE Civics Test Item Specifications into Benchmark Clarifications, Content Limits, and Content Focus Terms. It is important to keep in mind that the Civics EOCA Test Item Specifications were created after the release of the Sunshine State Standards for Civics, which occurred in 2008. As such, the clarifications, limits, and content focus terms build on what may be left out of or be unclear in relation to the original standards and benchmarks.

The Benchmark Clarifications

The Benchmark Clarifications, it could be argued, are perhaps the most important element of the Civics Test Item Specifications. These clarifications provide deeper guidance to stakeholders on what to teach. Consider for example, Benchmark SS.7.C.3.12, which covers significant court cases that students should be familiar with. Table 1 provides an overview of the benchmark and related clarifications.

Benchmark Analyze the significance and outcomes of landmark Supreme Court cases including, but not limited to, Marbury v. Madison, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, In re Gault, Tinker v. Des Moines, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, United States v. Nixon, and Bush v. Gore.
Benchmark Clarification 1 Students will use primary sources to assess the significance of these U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Benchmark Clarification 2 Students will evaluate how these U.S. Supreme Court cases have had an impact on society.
Benchmark Clarification 3 Students will recognize and/or apply constitutional principles and/or rights in relation to the relevant U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Table 1: 2012 FLDOE Civics End-of-Course Test Item Specifications (FLDOE, 2012, p. 65)

In looking at the benchmark and clarifications provided in Table 1, note that it explains not only what aspects students need to know, but how they will be expected to demonstrate it. These emphasize the use of primary sources, critical thinking, and constitutional principles; indeed, this is reflective of the Test Item Specifications as a whole.

The Content Limits

‘Content Limits’, as defined by the Test Item Specifications, “define the range of content knowledge and degree of difficulty that should be assessed in the test items for the benchmark” (FLDOE, 2012, p. 16). In other words, they provide the teacher (and the students!) information on what they do not have to know in order to meet the expectations of this benchmark. For our sample Benchmark SS.7.C.3.12, for example, the Content Limit states that “Items will not require students to recall specific details of any U.S. Supreme Court case (FLDOE, 2012, p. 65). Within this context, then, students need to know the broad parameters and underlying constitutional principles about a particular case, but not specific details.

Content Focus Terms

‘Content Focus Terms’ address content not necessarily referenced in the benchmark or benchmark clarifications but should be known in order to demonstrate proficiency within the limits of that benchmark. Table 2 provides an example of the content focus for SS.7.C.3.12.

Benchmark Analyze the significance and outcomes of landmark Supreme Court cases including, but not limited to, Marbury v. Madison, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Gideon v. Wainwright, Miranda v. Arizona, In re Gault, Tinker v. Des Moines, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, United States v. Nixon, and Bush v. Gore.
Benchmark Clarification 1 Students will use primary sources to assess the significance of these U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Benchmark Clarification 2 Students will evaluate how these U.S. Supreme Court cases have had an impact on society.
Benchmark Clarification 3 Students will recognize and/or apply constitutional principles and/or rights in relation to the relevant U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Content Focus These terms are given in addition to those found in the standards, benchmarks, and benchmark clarifications. Additional items may include, but are not limited to, the following: District of Columbia v. Heller, juvenile rights, rights of the accused, and segregation.

Table 2: 2012 FLDOE Civics End-of-Course Test Item Specifications (w/Content Limit) (FLDOE, 2012, p. 65)

Within the context of this benchmark, then, students are also expected to be familiar with specific terms that connect to constitutional principles (such as the rights of the accused), specific case language (segregation and juvenile rights), and an additional significant court case that occurred between the adoption of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies and the drafting of the Civics End of Course Assessment Test Item Specifications.

Taken together, the Benchmark Clarifications, Content Limits, and Content Focus Terms provide an explicit and detailed overview of what teachers are expected to teach and what students are expected to know for civics in Florida. So let us turn our attention to the four standards and consider what areas are covered throughout this course.

The Four Standards

The four main standards provide a course-long overview of what needs to be taught throughout the course. Each standard contains a particular number of benchmarks. All told, there are 40 benchmarks across 40 standards, and of these, 35 are directly assessed. A close review of the standards demonstrates the breadth of Florida’s approach to civics and the heavy emphasis placed on the Constitution and the structure and function of government.

Origins and Purposes of Law, Government, and the Political System

Table 3: Overview of Standard One

The first standard addresses the path towards the development of the US Constitution, beginning with the Enlightenment ideas that influenced the Framers and continuing through the drafting and implementation of the US Constitution. Generally speaking, students are expected be able to understand the arguments of the Declaration of Independence, know how the ideas of Montesquieu and Locke influenced the Founding Fathers, identify the problems with the Articles of Confederation, contrast the views of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, explain the responsibilities of government as described in the Preamble, and understand separation of powers and checks and balances. There is a heavy focus in this standard on early principles that shaped an approach to American representative government.

Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Citizens

Table 4: Overview of Standard Two

The second standard dives deeper into elements of citizenship and civic engagement with government. It is a relatively broad category, covering elements of citizenship, our obligations, rights, and responsibilities under the Bill of Rights and our representative democratic system, elections, the media, and multiple perspectives. This standard also includes benchmarks that have students engaging in the practices of civic life, including elections, the justice system, and public policy. It should be noted here that much of this standard does indeed draw on the idea that the responsibilities of citizenship are just as important as the rights of citizenship.

The Principles, Functions, and Organization of Government

Table 5: Overview of Standard Three

The third standard goes heavy into the US Constitution, particularly Articles I, II, and III. In order to demonstrate proficiency within this category, students must learn how government is supposed to function, the powers of the three branches, the lawmaking process, the role of the courts, significant cases, and how federalism works. This standard also covers the expansion of rights through the amendment process and students also touch on the Florida Constitution. Again, however, we continue to see a heavy emphasis on the US Constitution.

US and the World

Table 6: Overview of Standard Four

The final overarching standard within Florida’s civics course dives into US foreign and domestic policy. This includes having students consider US foreign conflicts throughout the 20th and 21st century and understand the different ways each was addressed. Students are also expected to understand the difference and relationship between US foreign and domestic policy and citizens can engage with international organizations of various stripes. Interestingly, this standard’s focus on US foreign policy goes beyond the expectations of civics courses in many other states.

The Civics End of Course Assessment

Florida’s civics end of course assessment is a selected response assessment, developed in collaboration with Pearson, and has been a mandatory assessment for middle schoolers in Florida since 2013. The Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civic Education Act does not require students to pass the exam, but it does require schools to count the exam as 30% of a student’s final grade in the course. The exam itself draws directly on the learning expectations and content found in the Civics End of Course Test Item Specifications, which itself includes sample items that preview the assessment. Teaching to the standards, benchmarks, and benchmark clarifications will best prepare students to succeed.  So what does this assessment look like?

The Structure of the Civics End of Course Assessment

The End of Course Assessment contains 52-56 items, on average, with some small variable number of these items being piloted in each testing cycle, thus not counting towards the final score. While the expectation is that students will complete the test in 160 minutes, in practice most schools provide students with as much time as they need to complete it. Each item on the assessment has a question and four options to choose from; the Civics End of Course Test Item Specifications provide item writers (and really all stakeholders) with clear instructions on how to construct said items, including appropriate wording, the use of plausible distractors, parallelism, and types of stimulus (FLDOE, 2012, pp. 2-4). At the same time, the item specifications make clear that the “… reading level of the test items should be grade 7, except for specifically assessed Civics terms or concepts” (FLDOE, 2012, p. 2).

One of the issues that often causes confusion for stakeholders is the difference between item difficulty and item cognitive complexity. Simply put, the cognitive complexity of items is stable from year to year, while at the same time, item difficulty might change depending on the students that take the test in a particular testing cycle. The psychometricians that deal with validity, reliability, and scoring of the assessment cannot identify item difficulty until after students have taken the test. Figure 1 illustrates the determination of item difficulty.

item difficulty
Figure 1: Item Difficulty

Item difficulty, then, refers to how many students might get a question correct; it can change with each administration of the assessment. Cognitive complexity, on the other hand, remains consistent and is identified at the formal item review that takes place each fall to review new sets of items provided by Pearson. Cognitive complexity, in simple terms, refers to how many mental steps students must go through in order to answer a question. The Florida Civics End of Course Assessment uses Webb’s Depth of Knowledge as a complexity framework, and items are classified as being low, moderate, or high complexity items. It should be noted, as well, that you can have an item that is low complexity and high difficulty; remember that difficulty is about how many students get the question correct. Page 12 of the Florida Civics End of Course Assessment contains an overview of activities across cognitive complexity levels in order to provide teachers with guidance on both instruction and assessment. A large part of each assessment is made up of moderate complexity items; table 7 provides a breakdown of cognitive complexity in relation to test construction.


Table 7: Percentage of Points by Cognitive Complexity Level for Civics EOC Assessment

The Development, Review and Revision Process

Since the beginning of the Civics End of Course Assessment development process, items have been provided to the Test Development Center (a division of the Florida Department of Education) by Pearson. Each year, Pearson provides approximately 150 to 200 new items for review and eventual piloting across upcoming testing cycles. These items are developed in a collaboration between Pearson and state assessment personnel, and follows a generally fixed process, and are generally intended to provide new items across every benchmark.

At the start of the development cycle, Pearson provides item writers (none of whom are practicing Florida teachers in order to avoid conflicts of interest) with a set item order of anywhere between 15 and 25 items on average. Writers are provided with the benchmark, benchmark clarification, content focus term (if applicable) and cognitive complexity level they are asked to write to. These are then submitted to Pearson for internal review and approval and provided to the state for the next phase of the review process. There are a number of steps within that process that involve a back and forth between the Social Studies Test Development Coordinator and Pearson, but eventually, items go out to a committee of community members and eventually educators.

The Bias and Sensitivity Committee reviews items for areas of concern that could cause potential issues for students and provide a report on identified issues to the Social Studies Test Development Coordinator and to Pearson. This report is then shared with Item Review Committee. This last committee is made up of practicing civics teachers, teacher leaders, district social studies supervisors, and content area experts, and their main task is to review the penultimate draft of items for a number of areas. Figure 2 provides an overview of what these item reviewers are looking for.


Figure 2: The Item Review Process

Each individual at the table during item review brings with them experience in or expertise with civics instruction and content as addressed by Florida’s benchmarks, and is assigned one particular role during the process. One person may be tasked with identifying the cognitive complexity (which may differ from that identified by the original item writer), for example, while another may be asked to ensure that the content of the item is accurate. However, following the initial table response on an item, each reviewer is allowed to provide a perspective across each of the 9 areas addressed in Figure 2. Pearson ensures that they have staff present to assist in revising items that may require some additional work. Once items have been accepted, they are then sent on to the psychometricians, who will determine validity and reliability through piloting them items on upcoming assessments.

This brings us, then, to instruction. What does all of this look like in the classroom?

What Gets Taught in the Civics Classroom?

Research done under the auspices of the Lou Frey Institute and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement following the 2015-2016 testing cycle provides a general perspective on teaching the civics benchmarks in Florida classrooms. The research summarized in this section is provided in greater detail in a report authored by Dr. Racine Jacques and provided at the Lou Frey Institute website (http://loufreyinstitute.org/reports/2). The reader is encouraged to review the report available at the provided link.

As mentioned earlier, 35 of the 40 benchmarks are directly assessed by the end of course assessment. The other 5 are grouped with connected benchmarks and assessed through them. According to research, coverage is a significant issue and an area of concern. Approximately half of the more than 400 civics teachers that were surveyed felt that they were unable to adequately cover all assessed benchmarks over the course of the school year. Looking at the data, the average number of omitted benchmarks was 3. One of the most common groups of benchmarks that were omitted come from Standard 4 and related to a consideration of US foreign policy within a civics education context. This was likely less because of difficulty and more because they simply ran out of time to cover the material. Figure 3 provides and illustration of which benchmarks were most often omitted from instruction.

Figure 3: The Most Common Omitted Benchmarks

At the same time, respondents felt that they had some significant issues in adequately instructing students in some benchmarks.  SS.7.C.2.12, for example, is an action civics oriented benchmark that asks students to involve themselves in considerations of public policy. Other areas of concernfrom a recent survey of Florida social studies district supervisors include SS.7.C.2.5, around individual rights; SS.7.C.2.10, around the ways in which media, individuals, and interest groups impact government; SS.7.C.3.4, around federalism; and SS.7.C.3.5, around the amendment process. Anecdotal observations by FJCC staff, gained through work with practitioners, also indicate significant instructional concerns around the many Supreme Court cases and constitutional principles contained in SS.7.C.3.12.

As described in the survey, the reasons for both difficulty of instruction and lack of instruction generally boiled down to 3 main explanations: student responsibility, teacher responsibility, or structural constraints. Student responsibility often boiled down to the supposed inability of the student to learn the material, while teacher responsibility pointed to issues with teacher content knowledge. Structural constraints could, in short, be retitled as ‘Issues with time’; for the most part, respondents who identified structural constraints as an issue struggled to cover the material adequately in the time provided. For more information on this aspect of the research survey, please read the original report available at  http://loufreyinstitute.org/reports/2.

How Does Civics Get Taught in Florida Classrooms?

One of the areas of interest that the aforementioned study asked respondents to consider was how they actually approach civics instruction. Perhaps not surprisingly considering the content of the civics course, more than 90% of teachers claimed to address current events a number of times throughout the year, which 3/4ths of all teachers claiming they address current events every week. A similar fraction of teachers also involved their students in civic learning through the use of computer games, primarily using the popular ‘iCivics’ platform (https://www.icivics.org/). Almost 40% of teachers said they involved students in debates at least once or twice a month. It should be noted here, however, that how they involve students in debates what these debates look like is not clear. Involving students in ‘lived civics’ does occur to at least some degree. Mock elections, mock trials, service learning, and classroom discussions and debates all had some level of participation.

When it comes to resources, Figure 4 provides a good overview of the most used resources among respondents to the survey.

Primary Resources

Figure 4: Primary Instructional Resources

Based on the data, resources from iCivics and the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship (FJCC) are the most commonly used resources for civics instruction. iCivics is perhaps best known for its games, while FJCC (http://floridacitizen.org/) offers a more diverse collection of tools, including lesson plans, content videos, practice assessments, and more. More recently, FJCC launched Civics360 (http://civics360.org/), with more than 100,000 registered users and a student-oriented approach to instructional tools (note that Civics360 did not exist at the time of the original research summarized here). For a deeper discussion of resource selection and implementation, please read the original report available at  http://loufreyinstitute.org/reports/2.


A Word on Florida’s National Reputation

Any summary of civic education in Florida would be lacking without some mention of Florida’s national reputation for civic learning and instruction. Since the passage of the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civics Education Act, national attention has focused on Florida as one of the few states with a mandatory and comprehensive civics course at any level, let alone one with a high stakes assessment attached to it. The CivXNow Coalition, made up the nation’s leading philanthropic, academic, and instructional supports of civic education, has identified Florida’s model of success as one for states to emulate:

“If every state enacted a policy like Florida’s–and consistently supported that legislation with funds for professional development, materials, assessment, and other interventions–America’s young people would be on course for more active and informed civic engagement throughout their adulthood as well. That means that pronounced civic deficits in Florida to date–low levels of voter turnout, membership in groups, trust, and volunteering–will begin to improve, and civil society will be stronger.” (Levine & Kawashima-Ginsberg, 2017, p. 14).

More information on Florida’s national reputation, and the lessons it provides the nation, is available at CivXNow ( https://www.civxnow.org/).


asking the public to do the reading

Buzzfeed’s Tanya Chen assembles lots of tweets and other quotes that analogize Bob Mueller to a frustrated college instructor. The American people are his students. Since we didn’t do the reading, we want him to explain it all in simple terms.

These are amusing responses, but they raise the question of what millions of Americans are really obligated to read. I once heard a Supreme Court justice say (to the approbation of the audience in the room) that citizens shouldn’t criticize judicial decisions unless they have read them, presumably in full. Some environmentalists despair that most people didn’t read the last big Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for themselves. It seems outrageous that the President of the United States, who swore to uphold the Constitution, would fail a basic test of its contents. (For instance, he expects the judiciary to review an impeachment process.)

But once you put several of these assignments together, it makes for a daunting syllabus.

And it depends on what else you would do with your time. Instead of reading the Mueller Report, I have actually spent hours neurotically checking second-hand opinions about the report in order to root for the ones that say that Trump is in big trouble and boo the ones that say he’s been exonerated. That was a bad decision about how to allocate my attention. If I’d spent the same hours reading the report, I might have learned something. However, the text of the report would not change my opinions and behavior in a way that would matter for the country. So it would have been wiser still for me to spend my time not on the Mueller Report, nor on the endless second-hand commentary, but rather (for example) on the work of the astoundingly creative Anne Carson.

I start with faith that certain responsible summaries of the Mueller Report will give me what I need to know. I then waste time reading all the other commentary in the light of what I already believe. If I took Sean Hannity to be the responsible commentator instead of Lawfare or the New York Times, my behavior would be exactly the same but my conclusions would be the opposite. The problem is deciding who is the responsible intermediary, and you can’t do that with 100% certainty unless you read the original text for yourself. But again, it is not obvious that we are morally obliged to understand the Mueller Report with 100% certainty, when there are other things to do with our day.

The Great Professor in the Sky definitely expects us to do the reading. But I am not sure we are all obliged to take Professor Mueller’s class. We do face a mandatory exam called the 2020 election, but it will cover a whole lot of material, and you can do fine on it even if you didn’t take Mueller.

Your responsibility as a citizen–as distinct from your duty as a person–obliges you to collect information and insights about public affairs. (Your duty as a person is to read Anne Carson.) But there is an awful lot to learn about public affairs, of which the Mueller Report is only one sample. What bothers me is the implication that everyone should have mastered that particular body of material, when no one can understand everything that matters.

PACE Announces Funding for Faith & Democracy Initiative

ICYMI – There is a great funding opportunity that was just announced yesterday by the Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) to fund an initiative exploring the intersection of faith and democracy. PACE is offering $300k to support 5-7 projects that investigate the question, How can faith be a means to bridge divides and foster respect and cooperation in our democracy? Those accepted will join a year-long peer Learning Community to serve as a testing lab on key questions and share learnings. RFPs are now open and applications are being accepted until July 1st. We encourage you to share this with your networks! You can read the announcement below and find the original version on the PACE site here.

Faith In/And Democracy: A Funding and Learning Initiative from PACE

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) has launched a pilot funding and learning initiative to invest in and promote engagement at the intersection of faith and democracy. The Faith In/And Democracy initiative will provide about $300,000 in grant support to 5-7 projects that explore this driving question: How can faith be a means to bridge divides and foster respect and cooperation in our democracy?  The Request for Proposals opens today; applications are open until July 1, 2019.

PACE is a community of funders that invest in the sustaining elements of democracy and civic life in the U.S.  “This exploration is a natural extension of PACE’s mission to deepen and enrich philanthropy’s support of democracy and civic life in the U.S.” said Kristen Cambell, Executive Director of PACE. “Faith communities have been a vibrant part of our civic fabric throughout the history of our nation.  With this project, we hope to uncover ways in which faith can serve to ease the divisions that plague our political, civic, and social processes.”

At this important moment in our democracy, many civic engagement funders and practitioners have redoubled efforts to bridge social and political divides.  This new initiative focuses on a largely unexplored connection point for bridge building: the power and potential of faith as a catalyst. In order to thrive, our democracy requires understanding, tolerance, and empathy across difference; this initiative seeks to uplift efforts to shift divisive perceptions of faith communities and build narratives about the power and potential of faith to bolster engagement in democracy and civic life.

While many institutions seek to engage people of faith in bridge-building and pluralism efforts, few organizations are funding specific interventions to engage people of faith in using their faith to support the well-being of democracy. Fewer still are considering the ways in which faith can serve to ease divisions that plague our political processes.  This pilot initiative led by PACE represents a meaningful step toward filling this gap. “We see this as a new mechanism of support to our members, as well as a vehicle for PACE to contribute learning and leadership to our field,” added Cambell. The initiative is inspired by PACE members and catalyzed in partnership with the Fetzer Institute and the Democracy Fund, as well as additional members of an Advisory Committee.

Embracing the exploratory nature of the initiative, a central aim of the effort is learning: in addition to funding 5-7 projects, PACE will launch a cohort-based, year-long peer Learning Community for those engaged with the initiative. This community will serve as a “laboratory” to test key questions about learning and impact, and enable us to reflect those learnings to funders, nonprofits, and our fields more broadly.

To learn more about the initiative, please visit PACEfunders.org/faith.  To access the full RFP and to apply, click here.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the PACE site at www.pacefunders.org/faith-in-and-democracy/.

Lots of New Jobs & Internships in Dialogue & Deliberation!

Did you know that every week we compile the hottest new jobs and internships related to dialogue, deliberation, civic tech, and public engagement work?! We work to stay up on the most recent opportunities and send them out at the beginning of the week on our Making-A-Living listserv.

While the Making-A-Living listserv is a benefit of being an NCDD member, we have been finding such a robust line-up of jobs and internships that we wanted to lift these up here on the blog. If you’d like to receive these weekly updates and are an NCDD member, sign up for the Making-A-Living listserv here. If you are not a member of NCDD, then we strongly encourage you to join so you can receive the most up-to-date positions we find! Learn more about the additional benefits of being an NCDD member by clicking here.

Remember if your org is hiring or seeking interns, to let us know by sending the postings to keiva[at]ncdd[dot]orgGood luck to all applicants!

Weekly List of New D&D Job & Internship Opportunities – May 30, 2019

* NEW – National Civic League looking to hire Civic Engagement Program Director (in Denver office). Read more here.

* NEW – Participatory Budgeting Project is seeking a Development Manager (in New York City or Oakland). Read more: https://www.participatorybudgeting.org/jobs-and-internships/

* NEW – Ethelo Decisions is hiring for a Sales Manager (Vancouver, BC). Read more: https://ethelo.com/blog/sales-manager/

* NEW – Social Pinpoint seeking New Sales Coordinator – Canada/USA (Remote). Read more: https://www.socialpinpoint.com/sales-coordinator-us-ca/

Community Water Center hiring for several positions in their Visalia CA office. Read more: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/careers

  • * NEW – Water Leadership Strategist
  • Community Organizer
  • Administrative Assistant

Generation Citizen is hiring for several positions – read more: https://generationcitizen.org/join-us/careers-internships/

  • * NEW – Program Manager, Massachusetts
  • Senior Director of Development Strategy (in either San Francisco, New York, or Boston)
  • Associate of Finance & Operations
  • Development OneStar VISTA (in Austin, TX)
  • Social Media and Digital Marketing Fellow (in either San Francisco, New York, or Boston)

RepresentUS is hiring for several positions – read more: https://represent.us/careers/

  • * NEW – Campaign Director
  • * NEW – Senior Campaign Director
  • Associate Administrative Director
  • Data Analyst
  • National Media Strategist
  • Online Campaigner
  • Organizer
  • VP of Development
  • Organizing Intern (Summer 2019)

Ag Innovations seeking for two positions in Sebastopol, CA. Read more: http://www.aginnovations.org/about/careers

  • * NEW – Office Coordinator
  • Senior Facilitator

**ICYMI – below are the positions we shared recently!

Democracy Fund is hiring for several positions below (in DC) – read more: https://www.democracyfund.org/page/jobs

  • Accounting Manager
  • DEI Fellow
  • Director of Partnerships
  • Director of People
  • Grant Associate
  • Program Associate, Elections and Voting
  • Senior Advisor Government Accountability
  • Senior Associate, Public Square Program
  • Staff Accountant
  • Communications and Network Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Elections Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Governance Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Legal Fellow (Summer 2019)
  • Public Square Program Internship (Summer 2019)
  • Strategy, Impact, and Learning Internship (Summer 2019)

Democracy Works has several positions and internships available (various locations). Read more: https://www.democracy.works/current-openings

  • Engineering Manager
  • Chief Technology Officer

BetaNYC is looking to hire a full-time Public Interest Technologist / Civic Hacker. Read more: https://beta.nyc/2019/05/13/job-opening-public-interest-technologist-civic-hacker/

CivicStory is hiring for a News Project Manager (in New Jersey). Read more: https://www.civicstory.org/press-release-srh-project-manager

EnviroIssues is seeking Project Coordinator candidates to support projects at their Seattle and Portland offices. Read more here

Knight Foundation looking to hire for several positions. Read more: https://knightfoundation.org/about/employment/

  • Detriot Director
  • Executive Assistant to VP of Journalism (Miami)

Change Research is seeking a part-time Operations and Sales Support Specialist in their Berkeley, CA office. Read more here.

JLA Public Involvement is looking to hire for two positions in their Portland office:

Net Impact runs a jobs-internship board at https://www.netimpact.org/jobs.

Democracy Fund’s electiononline has LOTS of positions in various cities across the country. Read more: https://electionline.org/jobs-marketplace/

Careers in Government has several engagement & communication-related opportunities. Use the keyword search at https://www.careersingovernment.com/.

Find value in what you see here? Please consider supporting our work through a tax-deductible donation and/or becoming an NCDD member (see more benefits here!).  We appreciate any contributions offered. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday Webinar Roundup Ft June Confab & Many More!

There are a lot of fantastic online events happening related to dialogue, deliberation, and civic engagement work; so moving forward we are going to start sharing the events happening two weeks out to give folks extra time to plan! This week’s roundup features events from NCDD sponsor org The Courageous Leadership Project, NCDD member organizations Living Room ConversationsNational Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), and MetroQuest, as well as, from the Tamarack Institute, International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and International Associate for Public Participation (IAP2).

As we mentioned last week, we have a great upcoming Confab planned with Bridge Alliance to explore how Slack can be used for collaboration and network building in the Democratic movement. Join us next Thursday, June 6th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm Pacific for this free call! We’d love for folks who have used Slack or are still currently using it to join the call and share their experience. Learn more and register to save your spot here!

NCDD’s online D&D event roundup is a weekly compilation of the upcoming events happening in the digital world related to dialogue, deliberation, civic tech, engagement work, and more! Do you have a webinar or other digital event coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know in the comments section below or by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!

Upcoming Online D&D Events: NCDD June Confab, Courageous Leadership Project, MetroQuest, Living Room Conversations, NIFI, IAF, Tamarack, IAP2, and more!

NCDD & Bridge Alliance June Confab on Using Slack for D&D Movement Building

Confab bubble image

Thursday, June 6th
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

We are excited to co-host another Confab Call at the beginning of June, this time with our friends at the Bridge Alliance to explore the use of the collaboration tool, Slack. On this free call, we will discuss the capabilities of the platform for movement building around civic action and learn more about the development of Bridge Alliance’s new joint project, the Democracy Movement Slack Forum.

REGISTER: http://ncdd.org/29763

Online Living Room Conversation – Food: 90-Minute Conversation with Optional 30-Minute Bonus Round!

Thursday, May 30th
4 pm Pacific, 7 pm Eastern

Food is life itself. Food is sensual. Food can be used to manipulate. Food can be used to shame. Food can be used to show love. Food can be a sign of status. Food can be political. Does this make you hungry for more? In this conversation, we explore our personal relationship with food and the societal implications from individual choices. Check out the conversation guide.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/food-90-minute-conversation-with-optional-30-minute-bonus-round/

NIFI June CGA Forum Series: A House Divided

Tuesday, June 4th
11:30 am Pacific, 2:30 pm Eastern

We’ll be talking about how to fix our broken political system in three different options: (1) Reduce dangerous, toxic talk: The problem is that the way we talk is poisoning public life. The “outrage industry” rewards people for saying and doing the most extreme things; (2) Make fairer rules for politics and follow them: The problem is that wealthy, powerful special interests game the political system, making it impossible to find compromise; (3) Take control and make decisions closer to home: The problem is that our most important decisions are being made too far away from home.

REGISTER: www.nifi.org/en/events

International Association of Facilitators webinar – Social Inclusion Facilitators online meet-up

Wednesday, June 5th
6 am Pacific, 9 am Eastern

The Social Inclusion Facilitators Special Interest Group would like to invite all facilitators who are engaged in Diversity and Inclusion  or Social Inclusion work to our first virtual meet-up in order to share experiences, challenges and good practices. For more information about the group, please check our page on the website – https://www.iaf-world.org/site/chapters/social-inclusion-facilitators

REGISTER: www.iaf-world.org/site/events/social-inclusion-facilitators-online-meet

Play-in-Action in the Public Sphere: Play, Development and Social Justice

Thursday, June 6th
9 am Pacific, 12 pm Eastern

In June, the Play, Development and Social Justice series will feature the work of practitioners and activists in the areas of afterschool development, civic engagement, and equity of access to the benefits of play. The conversation will explore how play is successfully creating grassroots cultures of creativity, inclusion and democracy. International play scholar and activist Carrie Lobman will be joined by Antoine Joyce, who creates environments for wealthy business people, elected officials, inner city youth and police officers to play together in Dallas; Don Waisanen who is pioneering the use of improvisation and play at the university and in the political arena; and Danielle Marshall who uses play as a vehicle to drive social-emotional learning, teach conflict negotiation, and build community in schools for 20,000 children in Maryland.

REGISTER: https://conta.cc/2GNuYXp?fbclid=IwAR2hGAp5D_ubwu9dKoLUKv8BbVI0rilRTv1u-zdUqnK5QFc_iAVA9ip7ZgY

Online Living Room Conversation – Women, Leadership and Power: 90-Minute Conversation w/ Optional 30-Minute Bonus Round!

Thursday, June 6th
4 pm Pacific, 7 pm Eastern

Women are increasingly sought out and encouraged to assume leadership positions in many walks of life, from business to community organizations to politics. While some call for further changes towards greater equality, others raise cautions about erasing any gender distinctions in an attempt to “make everything the same.” Are there ways the further expansion of women’s rights can complement traditional structures in society or are they destined to be at war? This broad topic on women and leadership can lead to many other conversations. Check out the conversation guide.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/women-leadership-and-power-90-minute-conversation-w-optional-30-minute-bonus-round/

Tamarack Webinar – Bridging the Gap: Repairing Relationships for Stronger Community Engagement

Tuesday, June 11th
10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern

Most of us recognize the need for and importance of engaging the communities we serve. Working to uphold the slogan“nothing about us without us”we might try to engage communities as much as possible. But engagement is a two-way street, and people who work in institutions and organizations sometimes find that the communities they hope to engage are hesitant or even resistant to engage. This can often be true when the relationship between institutions and communities is damaged, or where there is a lack of trust in the organization’s ability to engage in an open and honest way. With that in mind, what might those of us who work in institutions and organizations do? Through this webinar Lisa Attygalle and Galen MacLusky, Tamarack’s Directors of Community Engagement and Community Innovation will explore our thoughts on this issue, drawing upon our experiences in supporting community engagement across North America.

REGISTER: https://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/webinar-bridging-the-gap-repairing-relationships-stronger-community-engagement

IAP2 Monthly Webinar – Diversity and Inclusion in P2

Tuesday, June 11th
11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern

Carrie McIntosh’s session explores five key lessons learned from working with small communities on BC’s west coast. From closed Facebook groups that house rampant rumour mills, to client frustration that threatens to derail well-intentioned strategies, this session explores them all with a dose of humour. Participants will walk away with a list of practical steps they can take to create meaningful engagement outcomes for their clients and the communities they serve. Read the session description from the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference here.

REGISTER: https://iap2usa.org/event-3076943

The Courageous Leadership Project webinar – Brave, Honest Conversations™

Wednesday, June 12th
9 am Pacific, 12 pm Eastern

Some conversations are hard to have. Fear and discomfort build in your body and you avoid and procrastinate or pretend everything is fine. Sometimes you rush in with urgency, wanting to smooth things over, fix them, and make them better. Sometimes you go to battle stations, positioning the conversation so you have a higher chance of being on the “winning” side. NONE OF THIS WORKS. Instead, it usually makes a hard conversation harder; more divided, polarized, and disconnected from others. The more people involved, the harder the conversation can be. I believe that brave, honest conversations are how we solve the problems we face in our world – together.

In this webinar, we will cover: What is a Brave, Honest Conversation™? Why have one? What can change because of a brave, honest conversation? How do you have one? What do you need to think about and do? How do you prepare yourself for a brave, honest conversation?

REGISTER: www.bravelylead.com/events/bhcfreewebinar

MetroQuest webinar – Millennials to Boomers | How MDOT Involved 6,300 for Its LRTP

Wednesday, June 12th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

Is traditional public involvement getting old? While transportation matters to residents of all ages, few attend public meetings. That’s why Michigan DOT went online to engage the broader public when it began working on a completely new state long range transportation plan (SLRTP).

Times are changing. On June 12th, find out how Michigan DOT and WSP joined forces to engage 6,300 people to uncover their evolving transportation priorities for the Michigan Mobility 2045 SLRTP. Join Shane Peck, Anita Richardson, Brad Sharlow, and Kyle Haller as they share what they learned about public preferences for modal tradeoffs, infrastructure investments, intelligent technologies, and transit

REGISTER: http://go.metroquest.com/Millennials-to-Boomers-How-MDOTs-LRTP-Involved-6300.html

Best Essay Writing Services in USA

We offer premium quality academic writing services to our valued customers that reflect customer focus, reliability and awe-inspiring writing flair. Our squad of brilliant writing experts, consultants, editors and researchers is committed to concocting and delivering conspicuous and original online writing assignments for your academic papers. At Academic Writing Pro,...

what does the European Green surge mean?

The Greens did very well in the EU elections. One interpretation is that a substantial minority of Europeans are now seriously focused on climate issues and voted Green to promote EU-wide climate policies.

But the Greens also stand for pan-Europeanism, multiculturalism, civil liberties, and the rule of law; and they have a specific demographic base. They are challenging or even replacing social democrats as a pillar of the center-left, without expanding the total center-left vote by much (if at all). It is not clear that they have a stronger policy platform on climate issues than the socialist parties in countries like Germany.

Therefore, a different interpretation is plausible. Perhaps the social democrats have fractured along class lines, and the Greens have taken away their college-educated vote, not because of climate but because of a whole basket of issues and values.

To explore that second hypothesis, I’ll focus on Germany–the birthplace of social democracy (in 1875) and the EU’s most important economy. There, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came in third with less than 16%, surpassed by the Greens at 20.5%.

The SPD was traditionally a coalition of unionized industrial workers plus college-educated employees who were close to the welfare state (teachers, civil servants, and the like). These were the groups that stood to benefit most from an active state, and they were effectively organized in unions, professional associations, and the SDP itself. In other words, they didn’t just have votes but also organizational muscle. They played a major role in building the welfare state.

However, at least some of the party’s white-collar base has migrated to the Greens, who have become less environmentalist and more of a socially-liberal, cosmopolitan, center-left party. And some of the industrial workers have left the SPD for the right. The net result is a weakening of the organized center-left. Yes, the Greens are flourishing, but that is mostly at the expense of the SDP and reflects a fracturing of the social democratic coalition that helped to build the Federal Republic.

An EU election can be misleading if you want to understand the deeper state of a country’s politics. Only about 60% of eligible Germans voted this week, and they presumably focused more than usual on European issues. They certainly opted more than usual for small parties. Therefore, as second graph, I show how the whole German adult population responded when asked which party they felt closest to in 2016:

These data are now two years out of date but probably reflect the underlying conditions. The order is still the familiar one–Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens, and then others–but the once-mighty SDP is already down to 26.2% in this survey. Left parties claim 58.7% of the total electorate but stand very far apart on issues. The traditional establishment parties (Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and Liberal Democrats or FDP) claim just 64.2% of the vote in total. Both the left and the center are larger than the right, but the center-left is far from dominant.

This third graph shows how this pattern had evolved since 2002:

The change in the position of the Christian Democrats has not actually been huge. They have certainly seen some erosion since the immigration crisis, but they are only six points less popular than they were in 2002. The Greens stand not far from where they were in 2002, but they temporarily improved their position while the Social Democrats were sustaining their largest decline (2006-10). The right also rose, but mostly after the SDP had seen its major losses (2012-16).

That graph is consistent with the theory of a fragmenting SDP. However, trends in party support do not tell you how individuals shifted. Maybe the Greens grew by attracting former SDP members, but maybe those two lines converged for other reasons. The Greens declined and the right-wing grew after 2010, but we don’t assume that Green Party members defected all the way to the right.

As an imperfect test of the thesis that the SDP has indeed lost members to the Greens and the right, I graphed party support by income band for three selected years. I am assuming that if the SDP falls and the Greens or the right-wing rises within a specific income stratum, then people are actually changing their party affiliations in that way.

In 2002, the SDP performed best at three levels: the poor (who might benefit most from welfare), the fourth and fifth deciles (which may reflect unionized industrial workers), and the 8th and 9th deciles (where people with a lot of education may land). The Christian Democrats dominated among the rich but drew votes from across the spectrum. The Greens could not yet be described as an affluent party. Also (not shown here) they performed worse than the SPD among students. The right drew strongest from the lower-middle class.

By 2010, the Greens were more affluent and the SPD had lost a substantial amount of support in the upper deciles. The Greens were now also running even with the SPD among current students. The far right was weaker than it was in 2002, but I think that reflected a temporary change in the array of parties. The left drew support almost entirely from the lower income bands.

And by 2016, the right was much stronger–in third place in some of the lower income bands, behind only the SDP and Christian Democrats. Meanwhile, the Greens had become distinctly affluent and (again not shown here) they dominated the current student vote. They lost support only in the top income range, where the Christian Democrats were still ahead (although less so than in 2002).

These patterns are not sharp and dramatic; there is actually a fair amount of stability despite tumultuous times. But it does look as if the SDP has lost members to the Greens over lifestyle issues, and to the right because of nationalism.

The SDP and the Greens can certainly come together again in parliamentary coalitions, but at the grassroots, the coalition that sustained the German welfare state looks weaker than it was for decades. Also, I am not sure the Greens have the organizational muscle that the SPD had in its heyday, which means that their capacity to implement policy may be weaker.

If you care about environmental policy and social justice, you have to welcome the Greens. But the question is whether the center-left as a whole has sufficient capacity to govern.

marginalizing views in a time of polarization

I recently posted “marginalizing odious views: a strategy,” which was about a powerful and sometimes valuable tool for self-governance. When communities define specific perspectives as beyond consideration, they uphold norms without needing formal censorship. This is good when it happens to Nazis (for instance), but problematic when it’s used to block serious consideration of minority views.

I assume that marginalization is a perennial strategy. Its advantages and risks–especially as compared to a strategy of engagement–are also perennial. But the context does make a difference.

When most Americans got their news from three rather similar TV networks plus a metropolitan daily newspaper that had from zero to three local competitors, marginalization depended on the mass media. You could try to marginalize a position that you considered odious, or create space for a currently marginalized view, but your success would depend on what Walter Cronkite and his ilk thought. If a position wasn’t marginalized on the network news, it wasn’t marginalized. And if a view never got aired in the mass media, then it was pretty marginal even if you and your friends believed in it.

At the same time, the two major parties had overlapping national elites with similar educational pedigrees who, while disagreeing about some important matters of policy, still tended to agree about what was marginal. Along with the mass media, they adjudicated what belonged on the national agenda. Thus the terms of the game were clearly defined, even if the rules were problematic because they gave too much power to homogeneous elites.

Now that the media landscape is highly fractured, we live in many separate epistemic communities. What is mainstream in one setting can be effectively marginalized in another. Just to name one example, the phrase “illegal immigrants” is pretty much marginalized in both my city and my university, but it is the standard phrase across large swaths of America.

The fact that our national discourse is polarized and balkanized has been widely noted, but I want to emphasize the consequences for a strategy of marginalization:

  1. It is now virtually impossible to marginalize across the society as a whole. Given any opinion, some people are comfortably expressing it right now in public (online) to their fellow believers.
  2. It is now much easier to marginalize within a community in which you in are the mainstream. The temptation to say, “We don’t say that here” is very high when that can be so successful.
  3. There is also a constant temptation to demonstrate that each community is biased by forcing it to confront views that it is trying to marginalize. That makes the community look intolerant to external audiences. For instance, if a university seems pervasively liberal, invite Milo, watch the reaction, and cry “Censorship!”
  4. Since being marginalized feels like being censored, more people have the experience of censorship in various specific settings where their own views are unpopular. In fact, almost everyone would be marginalized somewhere.
  5. The same statements often have a double effect. For their proponents, they reinforce shared norms. For their opponents, they serve as examples of what must be marginalized. For instance, Rush Limbaugh clearly has two audiences: conservatives who like what he says and liberals who are appalled by quotes that circulate in their networks. (Both reactions benefit Limbaugh by bolstering his prominence.)
  6. The strategy that is furthest from marginalization–trying to learn from other people while sharing your opinions with them–is harder than ever, because we all hide in homogeneous communities.

I continue to think that marginalization has a place in politics. Not every opinion deserves respectful consideration. Communities gain coherence and value by drawing limits around what they will consider. However, I suspect that a fractured media system makes marginalization too tempting and persuasion too difficult, with costs for democracy.

Exploring Podcasts as Emerging Medium for Civic Learning

For folks in the New York City area, there is a cool event coming up next week that we wanted to make sure our network knew about on exploring how podcasts are being used to deepen civic knowledge and practices. The Metropolitan New York Library Council is hosting the in-person event, “Podcasts To The Rescue! An Emerging Medium for Learning About Civics, Government, and the Social Contract” on Thursday, May 30th from 7-8:30 pm Eastern. There is a fantastic line-up of speakers planned for the night, including Jenna Spinelle from NCDD member organization, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. The event is free, but space is limited, so make sure you save your seat by registering. Learn more about the event in the post below and find the original version here.

Podcasts To The Rescue! An Emerging Medium for Learning About Civics, Government, and the Social Contract

Millions of Americans cast ballots in the 2018 Midterm Elections, but participation in our democracy was already on an upswing since Donald Trump won the Presidential Election in 2016. While 7 in 10 Americans report feeling generally negative about what is going on in the country today, Americans are also more hopeful about solving problems. This hopefulness may account for the increased interest in how our government works and what role individuals and communities can play in that process. And as ever, podcasters are responding to this interest by producing shows that tackle policy and civic engagement in a variety of formats.

Podcasts To The Rescue! An Emerging Medium for Learning About Civics, Government, and the Social Contract will feature a diverse group of podcast hosts and producers, looking at the ways each podcast engages and informs listeners on how to stay invested in the social contract.

Moderator: Matisse Bustos-Hawkes, Founder at Otro Lado Communications and former Associate Director, Communications & Engagement at WITNESS


  • Arden Walentowski, producer and co-host of Let’s Get Civical, a comedic and irreverent take on how our government works
  • Harry Siegel, co-host of FAQ NYC, a weekly dive into the big questions about New York City produced by Alex Brook Lynn
  • Jenna Spinelle, producer and host of Democracy Works an initiative of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State
  • Mila Atmos, executive producer and host of Future Hindsight, where civic engagement meets civil discourse
  • Allison Daskal Hausman, producer and host of The Pledge Podcast, inspiring portraits of ordinary Americans stepping up to strengthen our democracy.

Panel discussions will take place 599 11th Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The event is free but space is limited.

Other panels in this series include:

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Eventbrite site at www.eventbrite.com/e/podcasts-to-the-rescue-an-emerging-medium-for-learning-about-civics-government-and-the-social-tickets-59456853048.