Final recommendations from California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning presented to Chief Justice and Superintendent of Public Instruction

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (left) and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (second from right) receive the report from California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning Co-Chairs Justice Judith McConnell (right) and Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon (second from left).  Photo credit Tia Gemmell.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (left) and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (second from right) receive the report from California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning Co-Chairs Justice Judith McConnell (right) and Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon (second from left). Photo credit Tia Gemmell.

Implementation of civic learning recommendations sought in all K-12 schools

Sacramento, Calif., August 5, 2013 – California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torklakson today received the Final Report of the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning. The report is the culmination of a year-long process of assessing the state of civic learning in California schools, receiving input at regional meetings, and crafting research-based recommendations to ensure that all California K-12 students gain the knowledge, skills and values they need to succeed in college, career and civic life.  Both the executive summary and the full report are available online.

Members of the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning, co-chaired by Justice Judith McConnell and Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon, presented the recommendations aimed at providing all students in California with the instruction, support and experiences they need to actively participate in society and succeed in the 21st century workplace.

These recommendations include: revision of the California History/Social Science content standards; integration of civic learning into state assessment and accountability systems; improved professional learning for teachers connected to Common Core State Standards; sharing of curriculum resources and best practices; engaging stakeholders from local government, business, the courts, nonprofits, community organizations and parents; and promoting funding in Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) through Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

“I am inspired and impressed by the body of work presented today,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.  “We need to engage our children so that they can absorb and be motivated by the lessons of civic involvement. With the commitment of educators, elected officials, the courts and communities, civic learning can and will regain its priority status in California schools.”

“Civics learning plays an important role in supporting our students by ensuring that they are properly informed and engaged citizens,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “The recommendations presented by the Task Force take us one step further in enhancing the accessibility to strong civic learning – making sure all California students grow up with appreciation and skills for civic engagement.”

Immediately following the presentation, Task Force and Power of Democracy Steering Committee members met to discuss statewide implementation including revision of the History Social/Science Framework, implementation of recommendations including development of local advocate network, and opportunities to include civic learning in Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP).

“High quality civic learning is proven to improve student achievement by teaching children skills for today’s world such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and initiative,” said David Gordon. “This is not a report that will sit on the shelf. The groundswell of support is tremendous and work has already begun to implement these recommendations.”

Under the leadership of California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Power of Democracy Steering Committee works together to improve civic awareness, learning and engagement in California. The committee includes representatives from all three levels of the California courts, the State Bar and local bar associations, as well as state and local education organizations. It formed the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning.