an overview of civic education in the USA and Germany

In this video, I offer a very broad introduction to civic education in the USA–framing my remarks historically. Essentially, I trace a tradition of experiential, community-based civic learning that runs from de Tocqueville through Jane Addams to Dorothy Cotton and onward; and a tradition of studying civics in school that really takes off with Horace Mann. These two traditions intertwine, and John Dewey is an important bridge between them. I argue that neither is in very good condition today.

Then Bettina Heinrich, from the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg, gives an overview of “politische Bildung” (political education or development) in the Federal Republic of Germany, focusing on the post-War period. We both note significant mutual influence between these two countries.

Another event will follow this one:

“Growing Up Across the Pond” (May 3, noon US Eastern Time) will be more about the general context for youth in Germany and the USA today. (You can register here.)

These are both open events, meant for anyone who is interested. They are also introductory events for people who might want to join The Transatlantic Exchange of Civic Educators (TECE), which “will bring together German and U.S.-American extracurricular civic learning professionals to unlock opportunities for mutual learning and reintroduce a transatlantic dimension to the field.”

a business/GOP rift?

Here is a sample of articles published within the past week alone: “The Right’s Anti-Business Turn“; “The GOP-Big Business Divorce Goes Deeper Than You Think“; “Republicans Will Regret Their Breakup With Big Business“; “Existential Threat-Or Politics as Usual,” and “Is the Business Community At Last Falling Out of Love With the Republican Party?

The situation is fluid and hard to interpret. Our predictions are inevitably influenced by our assumptions about how business generally relates to politics in the USA. In that spirit, I’ll disclose my own premises.

First, businesses influence government. There is no consensus among political scientists that campaign contributions and paid lobbying matter very much. It’s certainly not evident that companies can decide who wins elections. The main source of influence is what Charles E. Lindblom called the “privileged position of business.” The basic idea is that businesses create jobs in a capitalist economy; politicians want jobs to be created; therefore, politicians cater to business. Direct communications from corporations to politicians are effective mainly because they convey information that politicians are eager to hear. Although companies may exaggerate the costs of taxing and spending, politicians take their predictions seriously because they think their own interests are at stake. Compared to other politicians, liberal Democrats are more skeptical of business and more likely to want to hear from labor, but even most liberals listen hard when a company is deciding whether to move in or out of their own district. This dynamic is built into a mixed economy (or what Lindblom called, following Dahl, a “polyarchy”).

However, people see the world through ideological frames. We do not just behold the truth and maximize our self-interest (profits for firms; reelection for politicians). Instead, we use conceptual frameworks to interpret the world. A politician who believes in “free markets” is primed to assume that a tax increase will cost jobs even if it won’t. At the same time, a business that sees itself as a fair and inclusive workplace is primed to see xenophobic rhetoric as bad for the bottom line (even if it isn’t).

The dominant framework in corporate boardrooms is pro-market, pro-technology, meritocratic/elitist, cosmopolitan, and self-congratulatory about the business’s own fairness and inclusivity. This is partly because of the demographics of the corporate ranks: heavily “coastal” and international and highly educated. The most coveted employees and consumers–the ones with the most buying power–share those characteristics. Businesses observe politics through this lens.

At the same time, businesses do not particularly want to engage with politics. Government can be helpful, particularly if you want big government contracts. But it also presents risks. Politics is controversial, so involvement can hurt your reputation. The last thing you want is to be targeted by boycotts from several directions. Politicians can also extract rents. Businesses contribute to candidates not only to get benefits but also to stave off harms. A stable policy that is fairly expensive to business (such as a higher corporate tax rate) may actually be preferable to a rapidly changing and highly contested policy environment.

Finally, it is much easier to advocate a narrow policy, particularly one that has low public salience, than to try to steer the whole ship of state.

As a result, most businesses probably prefer outcomes in this order:

  1. A particular politician of any party and persuasion who champions their highly specific interests–a given tax break, an import permit, etc.
  2. Traditional Republicans who instinctively favor business interests, focus on economics, and don’t court controversy.
  3. Moderate Democrats, who are practically tied with #2.
  4. Quite liberal Democrats, as long as they are forced to compromise. If Sen. Sanders could write the tax code, that would be expensive for corporate America. If he has a seat at the table, it’s OK.
  5. Trump. He’s a loose cannon. He’s protectionist. Business doesn’t like his explicit stances on race and immigration; and he may hurt traditional Republicans against Democrats. For instance, with a different Republican president on the ballot in 2020, the GOP would probably control the White House and at least one house of Congress. right now Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez would be in the minority party now, rather than the majority. This means that Trump presents, overall, a bigger problem for business than Bernie does.

If this ranking is correct, then the relationship between business and the GOP is fraught; however, corporations’ calculations are complicated, and they will surely hedge their bets.

[VIDEO]: YOU Should Join my ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) Course Next Fall!

Snag a seat!

Graduate students and advanced undergraduates at the University of Kentucky, watch this VIDEO (4m29s) about why you should take my EPE 525 / 640 course in the fall of of this year on the Philosophy of Education. The EPE 525 course is the undergraduate version of the EPE 640 class, which is for graduate students, and both meet at the same time and in the same room.

Why study the Philosophy of Education?

Photo with students at the University of Mississippi.a) Educators and leaders are expected to have a meaningful grasp of their own philosophies of education;

b) All research is rooted in frameworks of ideas that support and contextualize our work and thought, and that can clarify and help us to focus or be conflicted and confuse us if not carefully considered;

c) Everyone working in educational administration contributes to a system that functions with respect to or in conflict with underlying philosophical ideas. That calls for appreciating and always keeping in mind what we ought to be doing in education.

What you’ll get out of it / create:

Eric Thomas Weber, author of "Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South" speaks at Sturgis Hall October 19, 2015. Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

1) A short “teaching statement,” “Statement on Educational Philosophy,” or related document commonly requested in academic job applications, as well as for administrative positions that often involve teaching courses or otherwise supporting them;

2) A book review for possible publication (optional route for students’ presentation);

3) A conference-length paper ready for submission to professional calls for papers;

John Dewey, standing.

John Dewey, concerned that you’re not yet signed up for the course.

4) A full-length research paper suitable for submission to journals and that could support your other projects;5) An op-ed-length version of the research paper for possible submission to newspapers or educational periodicals (optional);

6) Credits that can contribute to the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning.

When & Where?

Screen capture of Luke Schlake's opinion essay. It’ll be on Mondays from 4-6:30pm in Dickey Hall rm 127. If you’re interested in enrolling in this course virtually, through Zoom, reach out to let me know:


Former Students’ Success

From the Fall of 2020, 5 students, including one undergraduate, had their papers accepted for presentation at the 2021 Southeastern Philosophy of Education Society conference. Two more students have had their book reviews accepted for publication in the journal Essays in Philosophy. One published his op-ed in the Kentucky Kernel. All wrote fascinating statements on teaching philosophy.


Maria Richie, Andrew Nelson, and Dr. Eric Thomas Weber at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.In Fall 2019, 3 of 6 grad students in my EPE 640 class submitted their papers to conferences and had them accepted for presentation. They included: Joseph Barry and Josh Smith presented their papers at the 2020 Southeastern Philosophy of Education Society conference at the University of Georgia in February 2020. Also, Samer Jan had his paper accepted for presentation at the 2020 conference of the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World. Josh Smith also will be publishing his book review of Teaching In the Now by Jeff Frank in Columbia University’s Teachers College Record. The photo on right features Weber with two students from his Spring 2019 Ethics and Educational Decision Making course, Andrew Nelson and Maria Richie, whose papers from that class were accepted for presentation at the 2019 Midwest Educational Research Association conference


Questions? Email me at You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, &

The post [VIDEO]: YOU Should Join my ‘Philosophy of Education’ (EPE525/640) Course Next Fall! first appeared on Eric Thomas Weber.

wicked problems, and excuses

Is the following true for social problems?

Will + resources + planning = a solution

A corollary would hold:

If there isn’t a solution, there must be a lack of will or resources or a bad plan.

I think this logic sometimes holds, and it’s the basis for holding responsible parties accountable. They may not have cared enough, or spent enough, or thought well enough about a problem. If not, they should be called on it.

On the other hand, the formula overlooks the power of sheer chance. Sometimes decision-makers are just lucky or unlucky. And it ignores the possibility that some problems may be really hard: “wicked problems,” in the best-remembered phrase from the famous article by Horst Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” Policy Sciences 4.2 (1973), 155-169. (We discussed this article recently in my introduction to public policy course.)

Rittel and Webber write, “Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but good-or-bad” (p. 162). Yet people disagree about what is good.

“With wicked problems… any solution, after being implemented, will generate waves of consequences over an extended–virtually an unbounded–period of time” (p. 163). Since change keeps happening, there is no point when you can definitively assess the impact of a policy (p. 163). Also, there is no agreed-upon criterion for a successful policy (p. 162), and therefore, no way to know whether your solution succeeded.

“Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem” (p. 165). Thus we can endlessly disagree about the center or “locus” of the problem. This is one reason that “There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem” (p. 161).

You can’t learn by trial-and-error, because every time you implement a policy, you change the world permanently (p. 163). You can’t start a social experiment over from scratch and try something different. And because your policy affects real people, you have “no right to be wrong” (p. 165).

There is no way to develop an exhaustive list of all the possible solutions (p. 164). And “Every wicked problem is essentially unique” (164)

One upshot of Rittel and Webber’s argument could be humility: do not overestimate one’s own ability to solve social problems. Another would be decentralization, whether to small governing units or to firms in a market. Decentralization is a way of mitigating damage and allowing local solutions to fit local circumstances. A third upshot would be participation: if problems are deeply contestable, maybe everyone should be involved in addressing them.

Yet another takeaway might be defeatism and tolerance for injustice, but that seems the wrong lesson to draw.

See also: Complexities of Civic Life; qualms about Effective Altruism; The truth in Hayek; trying to keep myself honest.

Strangers to Ourselves

There are a bunch of different ways to teach undergraduates about moral psychology in a philosophy department:

  1. Emphasize free will issues: weakness of will, nature of addiction (& mental illness), causal role of environment and genetics, reactive attitudes and the nature of blame and praise, etc. Is akrasia even possible? Is Kant’s moral psychology plausible?
  2. Emphasize the profession of psychology and the bifurcation of research and practice. How does therapy work? Is the DSM a useful guide to our psychic lives? Is mental illness a myth? Is the replication crisis a particular problem for psychology? Do forensic psychology and social work perpetuate white supremacy and mass incarceration?
  3. Hortatory and didactic: how can you be a good person? Are personality traits persistent over time? If we are character skeptics should we be virtue skeptics? What should we do with all these feelings and negative emotions? How can we overcome implicit and explicit bias? Also can literary classics actually make us finely aware and richly responsible?
  4. The specific psychology of evil and oppression: study bias, conformity, and the psychic forms of dehumanization, racism, sexism, and obedience to authority. Look at group membership as a primary source of the corrosion of morality. In a sense this is the liberal version of “how to be a good person” i.e. “how to be an anti-racist feminist,” “how to overcome our internalized misogyny and ableism,” etc. But a course like this is likely to focus on particular examples, take up issues closer to political psychology and moral foundation theory.
  5. Emphasize epistemic issues: the same organ psychology studies is the organ doing the studying. We are deeply inconsistent and self-contradictory. We are tribal. We make excuses for ourselves while judging others mercilessly. We want things we can’t admit. We have implicit biases we explicitly deny. We engage in motivated reasoning. We don’t live up to our principles, making excuses for ourselves we disallow to others. We are vulnerable to situations and peer pressure. Altruism is itself egotistical. F.A.B.R.E.A.M.–fundamental attribution bias rules everything around me.
  6. Focus on metaethics: what is personal identity? Is moral talk merely expressive boo/hurrah or is there a moral reality that our judgements can track or not? Do the psychological and motivational shortcomings of consequentialism render it a less plausible account of morality?
  7. Focused on the developmental story: take the debate between Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan as the central debate, and try to figure out what it means that people are so different from each other. How much of morality is mere culture? Is there anything we can say about individualism versus collectivism as focal points of Western versus Eastern cultures? Is there something wrong with all the psychological research done on college students from Western, educated, industrialized, rich democracies? What do we truly have in common?

I love all these different versions of the class and I’ve taught them all, and probably there are more I haven’t thought of. But I think moral psychology courses shine when they emphasize the good old fashioned “hermeneutics of suspicion” I name-checked in my title. What if we are strangers to ourselves? What if we know not what we do? What if we live under conditions of radical self-deception? What if evolutionary psychology or an understanding of the human archetypes captured in Sophoclean tragedy can show us our true motivations and debunk our fake ones?

Basically, we have easy phenomenological access to some parts of our own psyches, but we also have plenty of evidence that there’s “more to it” than what we can easily see about ourselves. We are uneasy inhabitants of our own heads, and there’s something interesting and provocative in that experience of self-estrangement.

In contrast with most of the straight-ahead moral philosophy out there, moral psychology tends to call our motivations into question. I quite like this Regina Rini paper on psychological debunking of moral judgments, but she casts this as an objectionable experience of disunity. I’d argue that our continued fascination with psychological debunking comes both because it provides a satisfying opportunity to debunk others (to see them better than they see themselves) and to explain the parts of our own experience that don’t quite make sense and hold out hope of greater unity.

For my money the notion of self-estrangement is the fundamental insight of psychology as a discipline separated out from philosophy. (I follow Anthony Appiah on this: the growth of philosophy as it’s understood today largely tracks the creation of independent departments of psychology.) It’s precisely because we can’t see ourselves clearly and we engage in elaborate justifications and deceptions that we can’t study the mind from the arm chair with introspection and meditation. We need at least two arm chairs for the talking cure, or rather we need the analyst’s couch, the psychiatrist’s prescription pad, the neuroscientist’s fMRI, and the social psychologist’s tricksy experiments. Ironically, we even need some bad developmental psychology so we can do better social psychological experiments: Milgram’s experiment famously works because we trick people into thinking they’re researching BF Skinner’s behaviorism but really they’re proving that most of us are Good Germans underneath it all.

Anyway, much is made of the standard moral error theory—that we simply don’t understand what our moral talk is really about, because moral states are not about anything at all. But I prefer the kind of error analysis you get from the “heuristics and biases” literature, which is also embedded in the Rawlsian notion of reflective equilibrium: if there’s nothing at all that our moral judgments are about, then it doesn’t make sense to say that our judgments are biased or wrong. But if they are clearly inconsistent with each other, then at least greater consistency is possible. The evidence from psychological studies of moral development and the experiment philosophy results about our moral behavior can all help us identify candidate moral intuitions or judgments upon which to train that search for consistency.

That’s through-line between Freud’s psychoanalysis and Haidt’s moral foundations theory: that we can learn things beyond “bubba psychology,” i.e. the psychology of wise old women who have observed many generations of people and have finely attuned and richly aware assessments of themselves and others. Yet at the same time, because psychologists (inhabiting the same buildings in universities and the same sections of the book store) both research the mind and provide specific clinical support to suffering individuals, there have been some key bubba psychology insights that required this rejection of common sense to make clear.

Both therapeutically and philosophically, then, there’s something like a set of deep and potentially clichéd lessons to learn from moral psychology here:

  1. People are different. (There’s a lot more human variation than most people admit, and it’s not arranged in a clear hierarchy from bad to good or sick to healthy.)
  2. Don’t believe your gut, it’s full of shit. (Your emotions are not so smart.)
  3. Don’t believe everything your brain tells you, either. (Your rationality is really good at giving you the answers you want to hear.)
  4. Pick your friends and associates carefully. (The history and the psychological research clearly show that if those groups are cruel, or racist, or genocidal, then we are likely to be cruel, racist, and genocidal too.)

Probably it is more complicated than this. Probably there are more. Families matter. Community matters. Institutions and incentives matter. The prevalence of conformity and social normativity, for instance, makes me think that “pick your friends and associates carefully” is maybe a bit more difficult to implement than I’ve made it sound here. There are contributing factors that seem to make the very notion of “picking” a misnomer, since it is rarely under our conscious and fully autonomous control to decide with whom we are going to spend our time. And thus if you’re doing psychology, pretty soon you need to start doing sociology, and economics, and anthropology, and political science too. It really requires a kind of interdisciplinary social scientific approach. Or maybe we just call it philosophy?

LFI, FCSS, and FASSS Presentation on Florida’s Revised K-12 Civics Standards and Benchmarks Next Week

Good afternoon, friends. On Tuesday, April 20th at 5pm, the Lou Frey Institute will be co-hosting with the Florida Association of Social Studies Supervisors and the Florida Council for the Social Studies an informational session about the revised K-12 Civics Standards and Benchmarks. Please note that this session is intended to give a broad overview of the changes to the benchmarks in order to address some of the questions we have gotten. It does NOT represent the Florida Department of Education and it is likely that most questions may be best answered by the standards folks there. While we will collect feedback and comments, we are limited in how we may respond. Again, this is intended to be an informational session about the K-12 Civics benchmarks revisions.

Registration is required for this webinar. You can register for this webinar here. Your registration information will not be shared. Questions about the session? Shoot us an email.

As a reminder, this post compiles links and information about the revised civics benchmarks and other standards under consideration.

the international variation in COVID-19 mortality

The New York Times published a chart showing the number of reported COVID-19 deaths per capita and deaths above normal this year for selected countries. My graph demonstrates that the two variables correlate quite well–except in Russia. That is circumstantial evidence that Russia (and only Russia, among these countries) is failing to report COVID-19 deaths, as Anton Troianovski suggests in the reported article.

I wanted to check this correlation because I am interested in what explains the very large differences in national death rates. An explanation is not at all obvious. Consider these statistics:

countrydeaths Above NormalCOVID-19 DEAThs per 100kSocial Welfare Spending (%GDP)Health Care Spending Per Capita (PPP $US)Pop Density / Square KMUrban Pop. %Median AgeIndex of Stringency of COVID-19 regulations
Russia28%3914% $   1,488.00975%40.336.57
Spain23%10625% $   3,576.009281%43.969.44
Italy19%9228% $   3,624.0020071%46.580.56
U.K.17%12421% $   4,619.0028184%40.675.93
U.S.17%9619% $ 10,623.003682%38.558.8
Poland16%4521% $   2,015.0012160%41.975
Czech Rep.15%7819% $   3,040.0013674%43.381.48
Switzerland13%8417% $   8,113.0021174%42.760.19
Sweden12%8325% $   5,828.002388%41.169.44
France12%8331% $   5,250.0011981%41.778.8
Netherlands12%6116% $   5,634.0041092%42.875
Portugal12%5423% $   3,242.0011066%44.665.74
Austria12%5027% $   5,879.0010859%44.581.48
Hungary7%4818% $   2,115.0010472%43.679.63
Finland4%929% $   4,457.001688%42.852.31
Germany3%2726% $   6,098.0023577$47.875
SourcesNew York TimesNew York TimesOECDWHOWorld Population ReviewWorld BankCIA World Fact BookThis Oxford tracker.

The first point you may notice is a very high variation in many of these indicators. The excess death rate is 20 percentage-points worse in Spain than Germany. The UK has lost almost 14 times more people per capita to COVID-19 than Finland. France spends almost twice as much of its GDP on social welfare as the nearby Netherlands. Germany is 26 times more dense than Russia. Sweden is far more urban than Austria. Americans spend an average of five times more on healthcare than Hungarians. The only column with a small range is age expectancy.

The second point is that none of these variables correlates impressively with COVID-19 deaths. In a simple OLS regression, nothing comes anywhere near statistical significance.

It far from obvious why some countries have fared so much better or worse than the others. This is a smallish sample of countries (the only ones for which the NYT presented excess deaths) and maybe patterns would emerge in a larger sample. However, the situation seems noisy because so many variables may matter, and they can push in different directions in the same country.

For instance, Anne Applebaum recently wrote, “if the United States is very, very bad at social trust and public-health systems, it is very, very good at large-scale logistics.” I would gloss her second point this way: once the US government pays big companies a lot of money to do something, we often see impressive results. In this case, firms like Pfizer, FedEx, and CVS are administering millions of doses of vaccine per day with federal support. Yet we do a relatively bad job at changing behavior en masse because we tend to be distrustful and hyper-individualistic. The shifting performance of the US compared to other countries probably reflects these cross-pressures–and every other country has its own mix.

Florida’s New Civics Standards Released for Public Comment

Good morning, friends. Last Friday, the Florida Department of Education released the new civics, character education, and Holocaust education standards for public comment. While you should review all of the standards and provide feedback, let’s focus on the new and revised civics benchmarks. This post provides access to an overview chart for each set of civics standards. You can provide feedback on these changes here. Feedback is open until April 23rd. Let’s start with K-5.

K-5 Civics Standards Comparison Chart

The most significant changes, besides rewording and merging, is an increased emphasis on patriotism and symbols of both Florida and the US. These are both significantly expanded in the revised/new benchmarks. 

6th (World) and 8th (US) Civics Standards Comparison Chart

There are two new 6th grade benchmarks; one deals with the rule of law and the other deals with the leadership and civic virtues of Roman leaders. 
The most significant changes occur at 8th grade (US History). There is a whole new standard 3, and significant reorganizing of the benchmarks as a result. There are 4 new benchmarks. one deals with comparing the US to other nations; one compares the responsibilities of citizens at different levels of government; one deals with rule of law; one deals with changes to the Florida Constitution between 1838 and 1868. 

7th Grade Civics Standards Comparison Chart

The most significant changes to note (and keep in mind that these are not all the proposed changes):  
1.9 now includes ancient law codes in discussion of rule of law (10 Commandments, Hammurabi, 12 Tables);
NEW benchmark 1.10 adds large number of additional documents and asks about influence of english constitution and common law, republicanism, religion (Hebraic and Christian) and enlightenment ideas;
NEW benchmark 1.11 moves the 6th grade Greco-Roman stuff to 7th as well
NEW benchmark 1.12 has students recognize Judeo-Christian values and their influence on the Founding and documents
NEW 2.5 for jury system, moved from original 3.11
2.8 (political parties) has been completely eliminated
2.9 now only addresses constitutional qualifications for office
2.14 Conduct a service project is eliminated
3.1 changes from comparing different forms of govt to analyzing advantages of US constitutional republic as compared to other forms
3.2 changes from comparing systems to explaining advantages of federal system over other forms
3.6 (evaluate rights and their impact) deleted and merged with others
3.9 Illustrate the lawmaking process deleted
3.12 Dred Scott added to cases
NEW 3.13 explains advantages of capitalism and free market over socialism and communism
4.1 domestic and foreign policy deletes 2 clarifications
4.2 international orgs deletes 1 clarification and merges two others
NEW 4.4 adds Electoral College
NEW 4.5 has students explain how governing philosophy of US contributes to nation’s success

9-12 Civics Standards Comparison Chart

The following is a list of the most significant changes (please note that this does not include everything you will see in the document linked above): 
1.1 has been completely revised. students are focusing on the arguments in the Federalist Papers instead of evaluating, taking positions, and defending positions on principles. 
1.2 explicitly emphasizes the Enlightenment and adds additional ideas students should know
1.3 changes from evaluate ideals and principles to analyze and changes language to state constitutional republic instead of democracy
NEW Benchmark (similar as new 7.C.1.12): SS.912.C.1.5 Analyze the influence of Judeo-Christian values on America’s Founding ideals and documents.• Students will recognize Judeo-Christian principles of law and government in primary sources (e.g., rule of law, God-given rights, equality of mankind, limited
government, separation of powers, consent of the governed) in primary sources to including but not limited to, the Articles, Lawes and Orders, Divine, Politique and
Martiall for the Colony in Virginea (1610-1611); Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639); Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641); Constitution of
Massachusetts (1780))
2.3 (responsibilities of citizens) has some major changes to the clarifications
2.4 (public good) deletes several clarifications
2.5 (service project) deleted completely 
original 2.9 (expansion of rights and liberties) is now 2.8 has merged most clarifications into one single clarification and removed parentheticals
original 2.11 (analyze public policy solutions) merged with original 2.10 (monitor public issues) to create new 2.9
original 2.15 (political parties, interest groups, media, individuals, public policy) is now 2.13 and reduced to a single clarification looking at historical examples. benchmark language also changed to simply explaining impact. 
3.5 (regulatory agencies) changed significantly to look at interaction; several clarifications deleted, replaced with simply identification and explain purpose and effect. 
3.8 (role of judges) has an error (duplicate clarifications). I THINK there will be no changes. 
3.10 Roe v Wade deleted from case list, new clarification relating to Bill of Rights
3.12 (judicial decision making process) revised from simulate to explain; most original clarifications deleted. 
3.15 changed significantly to focus on how constitution protects freedom and liberty
NEW 3.16 SS.912.C.3.16 Explain how issues between Florida, other states and the federal government are resolved.● Students will explain the concept of federalism as it applies to each issue.
● Students will use historical and issue-based scenarios to demonstrate understanding of how disputes between Florida, other states and the federal government are
resolved (e.g., water rights arguments between Florida and Georgia, federal and state conflict over rights to adjacent waters and seabeds, civil rights)
4.1 changed SIGNIFICANTLY from ‘explain how the world’s nations are governed differently’ to SS.912.C.4.1 Analyze the advantages of the United States constitutional republic and free market economic system over authoritarianism (e.g., autocratic or oligarchic) and government-controlled economic systems (e.g., socialism and communism
4.3 changed significantly from ‘assess human rights policies of the US and other countries to SS.912.C.4.3 Explain how United States foreign policy protects human rights around the world
NEW4.5 is the original 7.C.4.1 (domestic and foreign policy)
NEW 4.6 is similar to new 7.C.4.5: SS.912.C.4.6 Analyze how the governing philosophy of the United States contributes to the nation’s success.● Students will compare the success of the United States to the success or failure of other nations with regard to their governing philosophies.
● Students will objectively analyze the past and present effects of various governing philosophies.
● Students will justify their conclusions about the likely future effects of various governing philosophies.

Again, these are the ‘highlights’. Please review the linked charts above and the draft document to see a comparison of the changes as a whole. 

You can provide feedback on these changes here. Feedback is open until April 23rd!

Questions on the standards should be directed to Michael DiPierro, Director of Standards at FDOE.

Civvy’s Celebrate Best in Civic Collaboration April 19th!

Don’t miss out on the chance to celebrate the 4th American Civic Collaborations Award Ceremony! Since it’s very beginning, the Civvys have highlighted outstanding efforts of civic collaboration impacts in national, local and youth communities. The Civvys are the only national awards program dedicated to exalt projects that emphasize working together across divides to strengthen communities and empower citizens, this year with an added focus on building a more diverse and equitable America.

This year, NCDD is proud to be a partner in national award finalist, the With the People Initiative, coordinated by the National Issues Forums Institute. We’re excited this effort is being recognized and look forward to celebrating it an all the finalists at the ceremony!

The event is free, open to the public and will be streamed on Monday April 19th  from 7:00- 8:00 ET.


To view the list of all impressive finalists read below or find the original invitation here.

Attend the 4th Annual Civvys Awards Ceremony

Monday, April 19th, 2021 at 7:00 – 8:00pm ET

You are cordially invited to attend the virtual awards ceremony for the 4th annual American Civic Collaboration Awards, or “Civvys,” highlighting exemplary efforts that worked to repair and improve our nation in 2020.

More than ever, in a moment when democracy and community – the fabric of our nation – are stretching at the seams, we look to initiatives like these to work across divides and lead the way in building a stronger, fairer America.

From a record number of inspiring nominees, a substantial set of honorable mentions paving the path forward, and a set of best-in-class finalists, this year’s Civvys winners represent the most collaborative, highest impact and most scalable initiatives from 2020.

Join the livestreamed award ceremony on Monday, April 19th at 7pm ET, 6pm CT or 4pm PT, to learn about their work, congratulate all of our finalists and winners, and hear from the Civvys Review Committee on these inspiring case studies of democracy in action.

This event is virtual. Attendance is free and open to the public.


Meet The Civvys Finalists
Please join us in congratulating all finalists and honorable mentions!

National Category
The Civic Responsibility Project
Hidden Common Ground Initiative and Strange Bedfellows Series from Public Agenda and USA Today with The National Issues Forums Network and the America Amplified Public Media Consortium
Issue Voter and Maria Yuan
Millenial Action Project
With the People, coordinated by National Issues Forums Institute

Local Category
Akron Civic Commons (Akron, OH)
Interfaith Council of Metro DC (Washington, DC)
Pandemic Voting Project, organized by NAACP (Missouri State Conference) and Show Me Integrity (Missouri)
SA2020 (San Antonio, TX)
STL Approves (St. Louis, MO)
Tarrant County College Civic Engagement District Work Team (Fort Worth, TX)
Youth Category
The Conversationalist’s “Our 2020 Vision” campaign
Green Our Planet
Student PIRGS New Voters project, including specifically nominated Eckerd College, California Student Vote and NAACP Youth and College Division initiatives
See All Finalists and Honorable Mentions

About The Civvys
The Civvys are the only national awards program dedicated to celebrating projects that emphasize working together across divides to strengthen communities and empower citizens, this year with an added focus on building a more diverse and equitable America.

Find the original version of this post on the American Civic Collaborations Awards’ site at:

a German/US civic education discussion

At a free online event on April 20th 2021, 5-6pm (Central European Time) / 11–noon (US Eastern Time), Bettina Heinrich, Professor of Social Work and Culture Work at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg, and I will talk about concepts, infrastructures and approaches for civics/political education in our respective countries, with time for questions from the audience.

For Americans who have not especially thought about civic education in the Federal Republic of Germany, here are some reasons you might be interested: Germany has a very impressive system of adult education that serves a wide range of people and includes elements of democratic education. The USA had a positive influence on Germany democratic education after WWII, just as German models had influenced American higher education in the 1800s and early 1900s. In other words, the two countries are more closely linked that you might think. Nevertheless, there are intriguing differences between “civics” in the US and politische Bildung in Germany. Finally, Germany tends to do an impressive job of addressing the evils of the past. Without equating or even comparing historical evils, we can learn from their experience as we reckon with our own history.

Registration information here: