News

TurboVote Comes to UCF

UCF is one of the newest schools to join up with TurboVote, an initiative intended to get young people informed, involved and participating in the November 2012 election. The Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government is spearheading UCF's involvement in this initiative.

TurboVote executive director Seth Flaxman explains the problem: "The current way you register to vote does not really make any sense," says Mr. Flaxman, who received his degree in public policy in 2011. "It is from a different era."

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Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools, is an urgent call for action to restore the historic civic mission of our nation's schools.

This new report provides research-based evidence of the decline in civic learning in American schools and presents six proven practices that should be at the heart of every school's approach to civic learning. It also provides recommendations for education policymakers to ensure every student acquires the civic skills and knowledge needed for an informed, engaged citizenry.

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools report was produced by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics of the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania; the National Conference on Citizenship; the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University and the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association.

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Winter 2011 Newsletter—Issue #1

The Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at UCF is excited and proud to debut The Civics Connection, a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive learning resource for Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics students and teachers. The project, a partnership between the LFI and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, has been developed under the auspices of the College Board, the umbrella organization under which the Advanced Placement program functions. It strategically combines experiential learning with virtual learning so that students can make the highest use of the environment they know best- the Internet.

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A Crucible Moment

A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future was recently released by the United States Department of Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The report is the result of work by the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. It calls on the nation to reclaim higher education's civic mission and it pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy. The Task Force calls on educators and public leaders to advance a 21st century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student's college education. This important report is a must read for all who care about the civic mission of schools and Democracy's future.

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Civic Health Index 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —An alarming new study of civic health shows that Florida's young adult population is less engaged in voting, volunteerism and public debate than their counterparts in other states. The results have prompted several former state leaders to set a goal of increasing the voting rate among Florida's Millennials by 10 percent in the next election.

The study, "The 2011 Florida Civic Health Index: The Next Generation," was conducted by the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and the National Conference on Citizenship.

It was released today at a press conference on the front steps of Florida's Historic Capitol in Tallahassee. Among those participating were former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, former U.S. Rep. Lou Frey, Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith, Executive Director for the Republican Party of Florida Mike Grissom and Michael Weiser, chairman of the National Conference on Citizenship.

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Civic Education as a Poverty Reduction Strategy

By Ilene R. Berson and Michael J. Berson

Civic engagement of young people has become a topic of national focus as research points to increasing disengagement of American youth from civic life. Although public schools in the United States were conceived in part to provide civic education and are uniquely positioned to strengthen civic culture, the nation has faced challenges in fulfilling its mission or potential in this respect.

NSSSA Leader 2011 Berson & Berson

Leon County Schools' Students Excel in Municipal Brain Bowl

The 2011 Municipal Brain Bowl is the third Municipal Brain Bowl held in Leon County Schools. It was created by the Florida League of Cities as part of its civic education initiative that partners with schools and teachers throughout the state to increase the knowledge of municipal government among students.

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Former Florida Gov. Claude Kirk dies at age 85

TALLAHASSEE — Claude R. Kirk Jr., Florida's first Republican governor since Reconstruction and one of the state's most flamboyant chief executives, died Tuesday night, his son said. He was 85 years old and lived in West Palm Beach.

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Christy Disinger is Volusia County's New Teacher of the Year

DAYTONA BEACH — Christy Disinger, who has a knack for making historical characters like Thomas Jefferson come to life through modern phenomena like Facebook, is Volusia County's new Teacher of the Year.

Disinger, a civics and American history teacher at DeLand Middle School, received the award Friday night before more than 900 education supporters at a banquet at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort. She was selected from 70 teachers nominated by the colleagues at their schools.

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Cities in the Classroom at Big Truck Day

The City of Satellite Beach and De Laura Middle School are one of 10 pilot projects selected by the Florida League of Cities to educate and connect students to their local city government. The Cities in the Classroom pilot project was funded and developed though a partnership with the Florida League of Cities, and The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship a partnership between The Lou Frey Institute and Bob Graham Center.

DeLaura Middle School teacher Larry Finch, assisted with curriculum development on a statewide basis. Representatives from the City of Satellite Beach have been teaching the Cities in the Classroom lessons to his 7th grade students since September. The students have met local officials including the Mayor, department heads, and volunteers who are all part of the delivery of city services and programs to residents. Through participation in the pilot project, students not only learn about their city, city government, services, employees, and residents, but also learn valuable life lessons by connecting with their communities.

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Tallahassee Leads Cities Across Florida in Celebrating Florida City Government Week

Florida City Government Week kicked off Monday with Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, President of the Florida League of Cities partnering with Leon County Schools and the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship to celebrate Florida City Government Week (Oct. 18 – 24, 2009). This partnership was formed to increase awareness of teaching civics in the classrooms during Florida City Government Week. Cities across the state celebrated Florida City Government Week in a number of ways.

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