Western Big Game Benefits from New Tracking Tool / Public News Service

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they'd like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they’d like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

December 2, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey includes detailed maps of Global Positioning System tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison. The tracking tool will help stakeholders, from conservation groups to transportation agencies, understand how big-game species move across the landscape.

Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said the new study maps more than 40 big-game migration routes to provide connectivity among multiple states.

“Wildlife doesn’t recognize state borders,” said Deubel. “So cross-jurisdictional collaboration when it comes to the management of wildlife, and when it comes to the protection of key wildlife corridors, is absolutely critical.”

A poll last year found more than eight in ten residents of New Mexico and Colorado support protecting wildlife migration routes.

Deubel said in the Gila region, all kinds of species are moving between New Mexico and Arizona – but it isn’t a seasonal migration. Instead, big-game animals are looking for water.

Forest fires, many due to climate change, also affect big game migration in New Mexico. That’s another important reason to maintain habitat connectivity, according to Nicole Tatman – big game program manager with the state’s Department of Game and Fish.

“Animals will move out of an area when a wildfire is occurring,” said Tatman. “But they’ll move back into that area after the fire has gone and maybe rains have come and brought up some green vegetation that they can take advantage of.”

In addition to wildfires, drought can make finding that green vegetation harder for big-game animals, according to Matthew Kauffman, wildlife researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Kauffman, the report’s lead author, said food is often absent along ancient migration corridors.

“Drought disrupts that ‘green wave,’ and makes it more difficult for animals to surf,” said Kauffman. “They still try, they do their best given the drought conditions, but they just can’t be in the right place at the right time.”

The new study builds on more than two decades of research by state wildlife agencies including GPS tracking-collar data, mapping migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Roz Brown, Public News Service – NM

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Akron Public Schools receives $1.5 million grant for college and career readiness programs

AKRON, Ohio – United Way of Summit & Medina announced Tuesday it has secured a $1.5 million grant from the Hewlett Foundation that will go toward college and career readiness programs at Akron Public Schools.

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Akron’s College and Career Academies began in 2017 and are now offered at each high school, providing students with vocational training and other field-specific opportunities in one of about 60 career paths. The grant money will go toward expanding the academies, including in Akron’s elementary and middle schools, and supporting the programs which have moved online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the United Way of Summit & Medina said in a news release.

The United Way and school district are also seeking to make students more engaged in their learning and to enlist the support of parents and the community by sharing information about student learning and involving them in decision-making.

“Their grant award in the amount of $1.5 million will go a long way to address the social and emotional needs of our students as we navigate our way out of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Superintendent David James. “Having United Way of Summit & Medina serve as the fiscal agent for this grant is indicative of the partnership that we share in serving our community in reaching our Bold Goals.”

The district established its so-called Bold Goals in 2017 in collaboration with the United Way. Bold Goal 1 calls for 65% of third-graders to be reading at or above their grade level by 2025, and Bold Goal 2 calls for 90% of high-schoolers graduating in four years and 60% being college- or career-ready.

James discussed the district’s progress in reaching the Bold Goals during his State of the Schools address in February. From 2016 to 2018, the percentage of third-graders reading at their grade level rose from 37.9% to 49.5%, and the district’s graduation rate increased from 74.3% to 79.8%, he said.

“Making sure that our students feel empowered as they learn and grow makes a difference in how they perceive themselves well after graduation,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “Also, having parents and the community play a role in the education process shows the students that learning is more than just the student-teacher relationship. We all have a stake in our students’ futures. United Way is proud to continue to grow our partnership with Akron Public Schools and thankful for the support of the Hewlett Foundation.”

This is the first time the Akron school district has received a grant from the California-based Hewlett Foundation, which was founded in 1966 by Flora and William R. Hewlett, co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard computer and software company. The foundation reported awarding more than $450 million in grants in 2019 to support causes including education, environmental preservation, performing arts, economic development and women’s health.

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©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

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Baylor University Announces Statues Honoring Medal of Honor Recipients | Media and Public Relations

Gift from Houston couple installs statues in McLane Stadium plaza

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Nov. 28, 2020) – Baylor University today celebrated the installation of two bronze statues honoring the institution’s two Medal of Honor recipients, U.S. Army Corps Col. John Riley Kane (BA 1928) and U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Andrew Jackson “Jack” Lummus Jr. Efforts to honor these Baylor heroes were spurred forward and funded through a gift by A. Haag and Millette Sherman of Houston. The statues were unveiled during a dedication ceremony in the McLane Stadium Plaza.

“We are truly grateful for the generosity of Haag and Millette Sherman and their heartfelt dedication to honoring two of Baylor University’s most decorated heroes: John Kane and Jack Lummus,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “As Medal of Honor recipients, these two Baylor alumni truly served their country selflessly, and we are humbled to count them as members of our Baylor Family. We are forever grateful for their service, and for Jack’s sacrifice, and we are honored to have the privilege of keeping their memories alive through future generations of Baylor students.”

Both multi-sport Baylor Letterwinners, John Kane and Jack Lummus’s likenesses are located on the grounds of McLane Stadium as a reminder of the lives they lived at the University, beyond the heroism they were compelled to display during World War II. The two men received their honors for heroism in distinctly different circumstances – one as a pilot in the European theatre of World War II, while the other for his ultimate sacrifice on the ragged hills of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theatre of the war. Haag and Millette Sherman were inspired to create the Medal of Honor tribute as a way to honor Baylor’s history and recognize the singular heroism of Kane and Lummus.

The statues are the work of Baylor alumnus Dan Brook, a Native American artist based in Dallas, Texas, at Brook Studio. The statues honor Lummus and Kane, with both dressed in military uniforms denoting their affiliation and rank within the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army Air Corps (the precursor to the U.S. Air Force), respectively.

“Jack Lummus and John Kane represent the very best of our Baylor Family and our country,” Haag Sherman said about the project and his family’s inspiration for initiating the statue construction. “Their selfless heroics in humankind’s greatest struggle for freedom have immortalized them, and their leadership, service and faith are foundational to both Baylor and our country. Dan Brook’s beautiful work will educate and inspire generations of our Baylor Family and our guests. Millette and I are proud and honored to have played a small part in the commemoration of these heroes.”

The Shermans’ generous gift is helping teach future generations about the rich tradition of bravery and military service among Baylor alumni. The stories of Lummus and Kane speak to the

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New Maps Help AZ Manage Big Game Migrations / Public News Service

A new U.S. Geological Survey map charts the annual migration patterns of the pronghorn antelope and other big-game species across Arizona and other Western states. (Rod Gardner/Adobe stock)

A new U.S. Geological Survey map charts the annual migration patterns of the pronghorn antelope and other big-game species across Arizona and other Western states. (Rod Gardner/Adobe stock)

November 27, 2020

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. — Wildlife managers across the West have a new tool at their disposal when it comes to protecting iconic big game.

A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides detailed maps of GPS tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison.

Matthew Kauffman, USGS wildlife researcher and the report’s lead author, said stakeholders from conservationists to transportation agencies have long realized it’s critical to understand how big game move across Arizona’s landscapes.

“And are ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work to enhance and maintain the connectivity of these migration corridors,” Kauffman shared. “And now they have a tool that can guide that on-the-ground work.”

Development across the West, from energy production to expanding suburbs, has created roadblocks on routes used by wildlife for thousands of years.

Kauffman explained the new maps provide a blueprint for helping animals get back on track. Conservationists are hopeful the maps can also be used to monitor and limit the spread of contagious diseases such as chronic wasting disease.

Kauffman emphasized the research confirms migration is how most animals stay alive in western states. New vegetation sprouts in lower elevations in early spring, and as temperatures rise, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and other ungulates ride what Kauffman calls a green wave into higher elevations where their favorite food pops up next.

Climate change is also impacting migration. Longer and more severe drought has altered when and where food is available along historical corridors.

“Drought disrupts that green wave, and makes it more difficult for animals to surf,” Kauffman reported. “They still try, they do their best given the drought conditions, but they just can’t be in the right place at the right time.”

The new study builds on more than two decades of research by state wildlife agencies including GPS tracking-collar data, mapping more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Kauffman added the maps are available to state and local agencies, and other stakeholders working to keep migration corridors and animal populations viable in Arizona and across the West.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service – AZ

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China Vaccine Maker Applies for Public Use of Covid Shot

(Bloomberg) — A leading Chinese vaccine developer has applied for authorization to bring its Covid-19 shot to the market, seeking to get a jump on Western rivals as the race for a working inoculation against the virus enters the final stretch.



a group of items on a table: Technicians processing Covid-19 coronavirus tests at a laboratory in Tianjin, China.


© Source: AFP/Getty Images
Technicians processing Covid-19 coronavirus tests at a laboratory in Tianjin, China.

China National Biotec Group Co. has submitted an application to Chinese regulators, reported state media Xinhua Finance on Wednesday, citing parent company Sinopharm’s vice general manager Shi Shengyi. The application likely includes interim data from the company’s Phase III human testing conducted in the Middle East and South America.

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Stocks related to Sinopharm Group, including its Hong Kong unit, surged on Wednesday after the news.

A CNBG spokeswoman said she had no further information when contacted by Bloomberg. Calls to Sinopharm Group went unanswered.

With the application, CNBG will likely become the first developer outside of Russia to see its shots made available for general public use, underscoring China’s determination to be a major player in supplying inoculations to countries around the world. Western drugmakers like Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc are only at the stage of seeking authorization for emergency use of their shots, a status China granted to its developers months ago.

But unlike western frontrunners, CNBG has yet to release any public data on the efficacy of its shots in Phase III trials, making it difficult to compare its vaccines to others, or estimate how quickly it is likely to receive approval.

The regulator will now review data from CNBG’s Phase I and II trials, plus interim data from its Phase III trials, which Chairman Yang Xiaoming said last week the company has just started un-blinding. China’s drug regulator, the National Medical Products Administration, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The vaccine race has taken on vital importance as countries look to more definitively re-open their economies and stem a pandemic that has sickened more than 59 million. Inoculations are seen as the best hope as a fresh wave of infections is forcing nations to reintroduce lockdowns and other restrictions.

Video: Gottlieb on Moderna vaccine: We can effectively end Covid pandemic in 2021 (CNBC)

Gottlieb on Moderna vaccine: We can effectively end Covid pandemic in 2021

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A state-owned drugmaker that has a dominant share of China’s vaccine market, CNBG in April was among the world’s first to push experimental shots to the crucial final stage of human testing. The company’s research institutes developed two shots using an inactivated version of the virus to stimulate immune response, an approach widely adopted by many of the existing vaccines used around the world.

Such vaccines have the advantage of easier storage and distribution as they don’t need to be frozen — unlike the experimental mRNA vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna Inc. CNBG’s shots can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, making access for rural areas and developing countries more likely.

CNBG

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Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Enter Into a Global Pharmacovigilance Agreement

PRINCETON, N.J. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., announced an agreement with research experts from the Columbia University Irving Center Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health to help support the epidemiological needs of Otsuka Global Pharmacovigilance (GPV) for products, enhanced training, and employee education.

The three-year agreement, through October 2022, draws on the extensive expertise of faculty at Columbia Mailman and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Faculty members will work with Otsuka on activities such as post-marketing safety and effectiveness studies, the development of data registries, and investigations of rare exposures and outcomes. Columbia Mailman faculty will also provide executive education to Otsuka’s pharmacovigilance and clinical research and development employees, including conducting workshops in epidemiology and biostatistics, journal clubs, seminars, and formal courses.

“The expertise and scientific depth of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center faculty will help us enhance the epidemiological support for various Otsuka Global Pharmacovigilance regulatory reports and publications,” said Mirza I. Rahman, MD, MPH, senior vice president and chief global pharmacovigilance officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., and a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health alumnus. “Patient safety is our highest priority and the knowledge sharing, learning, and scientific exchange resulting from this initiative is consistent with Otsuka’s commitment to excellence in pharmacovigilance.”

Leading Columbia Mailman School’s research team is Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD, MPH, professor of Epidemiology and Myron M. Studner, professor of Cancer Research in Medicine at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Other members of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center team include Drs. Judith Jacobson, Lambert Lumey, Jason Wright, and Daniel Freedberg.

“Our work with Otsuka is a unique and innovative approach to enhancing drug surveillance and safety efforts,” said Dr. Neugut of the Mailman School.

About Otsuka

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.

In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.

Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies’ 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs. Otsuka’s most recently approved product in the U.S. is the first-ever treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder in which fluid-filled cysts develop in the

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California is still debating ethnic studies in public education. Can the state finally get it right?

After more than a year of roiling controversies over how to teach ethnic studies in K-12 through college classrooms, discord erupted anew in a debate last week over course content and how to meet legal requirements, with many wondering: Can California get it right this go-round?

The state’s top instructional-policy makers for K-12 education painstakingly debated hundreds of changes to a draft model curriculum for ethnic studies Wednesday and Thursday, just months after a stinging veto by Gov. Newsom, who refused to sign a bill requiring ethnic studies in high school without clear course guidelines in place.

At the heart of the current tensions is how to create a curriculum that is faithful to the discipline of ethnic studies — which focuses on the experiences and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native/Indigenous Americans — while also accommodating myriad additional groups who demand inclusion and say their stories have been marginalized.

At California State University, where an ethnic studies course is now mandated by state law for all undergraduate students, faculty are sparring with the administration over how best to meet that requirement.

“This is more than just a curriculum, this is more than just ethnic studies,” Julia Jordan-Zachery, president of the Assn. for Ethnic Studies, said. “These are … larger issues that we’re grappling with at a societal level that we haven’t figured out how to manage, and they’re just playing out on this scale.”

The discussion remains charged because it is essentially about issues of power and representation, said Jordan-Zachery, who is also chair of the Africana studies department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

California is required by law to create an ethnic studies “model curriculum” by March 31, 2021, for use as a guide by K-12 schools and districts that wish to offer to such a course. A separate bill to require that all public high school students complete at least one semester of ethnic studies failed with Newsom’s September veto, but the author has vowed to reintroduce it. The course mandate and model curriculum could serve as examples for the rest of the country.

Ethnic studies have traditionally been defined as focusing on the experiences, histories and contributions of the four previously mentioned racial/ethnic groups, which have been marginalized and oppressed in the United States. Coursework emphasizes inquiry and encourages students to “tell their own stories” and engage in social justice.

Since the first draft of the model curriculum was published in 2019, it has been assailed from multiple corners, including by those who objected to what they viewed as its anti-capitalist stance, others who felt the content was too political and jargon-filled, and still others — Jews, Armenians and Sikhs among the most vocal — who called for their inclusion alongside that of Arab Americans.

State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has spent considerable political capital and staked part of his legacy on creating a robust model curriculum, publicly calling for ethnic studies to retain its focus on the traditional four

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Only 1 Seattle Public Schools student is receiving special-education services in person right now

Within Seattle Public Schools, only one student with disabilities is currently receiving services in person. Next week, that number will increase to two.

District officials say there are a few reasons why it’s taking a long time to get in-person services delivered to students while the school year proceeds online for most kids. A major reason for the delay: The district chose to set up services at students’ home schools — as opposed to at districtwide hubs — which meant making sure 104 school sites were safe for adult work, said Concie Pedroza, chief of student supports.

Students with disabilities made up about 15.8% of Seattle’s enrollment, according to the state’s school report card.

Other districts are using different models to get students what they need in person. In Bellevue, which this September enrolled fewer than half of Seattle’s 52,481 students, 150 students were receiving services in person as of Thursday, according to spokesperson Michael May. There, the district is concentrating services at four school sites — not all of which are students’ home schools.

In Lake Washington, 475 students with disabilities were getting assistance in person as of Thursday, said spokesperson Shannon Parthemer. Educators recommended in-person services for 580 students; 105 families declined them. Lake Washington provides these services across 34 school sites.

Focusing on home schools was “the most important thing,” Pedroza, the Seattle schools official, said in a briefing with journalists Thursday.

Late last week, Seattle announced that remote learning would continue at least through January — making any moves at improving its online-era work all the more long-lasting. Sixty-five students are “already in queue” to receive these services, Pedroza said; eight students have successfully gone through the health and safety review the district requires of staff and families before it firms up its decisions.

Many parents of students with disabilities have said that remote learning has been particularly tough on their kids. Students with ADHD, for example, have a harder time focusing on screens for longer, especially without the support they’d get in school. Under federal law, students with disabilities have a specific right to a “free appropriate public education.”

To determine what that is, school staff and families set individualized goals and mandate the type of services students need to get there, such as speech or occupational therapy. Already, Washington families have turned to courts, claiming that those needs have not been met amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One critic of that policy said she did not understand why the district thought it mattered to focus on offering services at a student’s home school.

“I really worry about what’s going on with kids at home — I just cannot imagine that’s the least restrictive environment for them,” said Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education. “What matters is the student receiving appropriate services and hopefully from the teacher that they know. That can happen anywhere.”

Similarly, Janis White, president of the Seattle Special Education PTSA, an organization that supports the parents of children

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Jerry Falwell Jr. sues Liberty University for defamation regarding public pool-boy-dalliance statements

Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced and ousted former chancellor and president of Liberty University, is suing his former employer on the grounds that its public statements in August about several scandals, including his alleged semi-involvement in his wife’s dalliance with a pool boy, damaged his reputation.

“When Mr. Falwell and his family became the targets of a malicious smear campaign incited by anti-evangelical forces, Liberty University not only accepted the salacious and baseless accusations against the Falwells at face value, but directly participated in the defamation,” said the lawsuit, filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court and obtained by the Associated Press. “This action seeks redress for the damage Liberty has caused to the reputation of Mr. Falwell and his family.”

The lawsuit also states that “Liberty’s actions are antithetical to the teachings of Christ,” AP said.

“We attempted to meet several times with the Liberty University Board of Trustees Executive Committee but were unsuccessful in doing so,” Falwell attorney Robert Raskopf of Quinn Emanuel said in a statement announcing the suit. “Thus, we were forced to seek remedy for Mr. Falwell’s ongoing injuries and damage to his reputation through the Court.”

The allegations stem from the August ouster of Falwell, son of evangelical leader and Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell Sr., after a compromising photo that he said was taken in jest, plus a claim that Falwell Jr. had watched his wife have sex with another man.

Falwell resigned in August after a news story in which pool maintenance worker Giancarlo Granda, 29, said he’d had a six-year affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki Falwell, and that her husband liked to watch.

Jerry denied the latter claim and said it was based on the paramour’s attempt to blackmail the couple. He acknowledged that the affair had happened but said he and his wife had worked things out.

Soon after Falwell’s resignation, Liberty announced it would thoroughly investigate everything that happened during his tenure, right down to the finances, looking at “all facets of Liberty University operations during Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as President, including but not limited to financial, real estate, and legal matters.”

It has since hired the global forensic accounting firm Baker Tilly US and launched a website for reporting misconduct, the university announced Oct. 20.

“I am saddened that University officials, with whom I have shared so much success and enjoyed such positive relationships, jumped to conclusions about the claims made against my character, failed to properly investigate them, and then damaged my reputation following my forced resignation,” Falwell said in his statement. “While I have nothing but love and appreciation for the Liberty community, and I had hoped to avoid litigation, I must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process.”

The university told AP that it had not yet been served with the lawsuit but would issue a response later Thursday.

With News Wire Services

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©2020 New York Daily News

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How Civics Education Is Important For Public Understanding Of Health And Science

In Building better citizens, Holly Korbey argues that civics education—educating students about basic factual knowledge and how to be an effective citizen—has never been more important as more and more people can’t distinguish between real and fake news. As Korbey aptly notes, “With so much misinformation flooding the internet, it suddenly feels like we are debating the very existence of scientific truth itself.” Basically, in order to have a democracy we need to be able to agree on the same set of facts, and in health and science at present that seems more important than ever. What follows is a brief interview with Korbey about what civics education is, why it has been neglected, and how can improve health and science literacy.

How do you define civics education and why is it so important? 

Civics education, quite literally, is learning how to be a citizen. In the book, I take a look at what means—what you need to know to be an effective citizen in the 21st century. That includes learning about history and geography and how our government is set up, which is what traditionalists would call the basics of civics. But I argue that there’s more to it than that to live in our 24/7, globalized, multiracial and multicultural, completely digital America. To be a responsible citizen today, you also have to know how to find reliable sources of news, how to determine fact from fiction, and how to talk and listen to others you may disagree with in our incredibly polarized political climate. It’s not a case of either/or, you have to have both. 

The reason it’s important, essential is the word I would use, is because in a democracy the power rests with the people. The president, Congress, ultimately they’re not the “deciders” – the people are. And as Sandra Day O’Connor has famously said, Americans aren’t born knowing how to live in a democracy. Each generation must be taught history and the Constitution, as well as the rights and responsibility they have to decide the fate of the nation.

Why has civics education largely been neglected? 

Civics ed began being neglected in the second half of the 20th century—before that it was the original mission for starting the public schools! But several things happened: the launch of Sputnik and the space race created a sense that schools weren’t focusing enough on STEM subjects. Schools’ missions really changed from training young citizens to enter democracy to preparing students for college and career. And then the school

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