What We’re Reading

Every few weeks, GC picks out a selection of articles that are relevant to our work and to the civics education space as a whole. We at GC love to expand our learning in every aspect of what we do, and we hope you enjoy our selections!

Don’t Stop the Presses! When Local News Struggles, Democracy Withers. Wired.
This feature story on local journalism highlights the challenges that local media outlets face with Facebook and Google claiming the lion’s share of ad revenue that used to support like newspapers like the East Bay Times, which won a Pulitzer Prize this year. As local news struggles to remain viable, new research shows that civic engagement declines in a statistically significant way when local newspapers close, presenting a threat to a well-functioning democracy.

States move toward requiring high schoolers to take civics to graduate. Washington Examiner.
An increasing number of states are aiming to improve civic education by requiring that students pass a version of the United States citizenship test before graduating. Some experts argue the approach is misguided, as it sets the bar too low and does too little to ensure students are equipped to be active citizens.

It’s Time to Make National Service a Universal Commitment. Brookings.
This blog post outlines the benefits of national service programs, including economic evidence that taxpayer benefits exceed the costs by a ratio of more than two to one. The author argues that expanded, or even universal national service programs in the United States could help spur civic engagement and bridge social divides that damage the country.

A Field Guide To Truly Audacious Philanthropy. Fast Company.
This article summarizes a new Harvard Business Review report on how private philanthropists have helped drive some of the most successful social-impact successes of the last century, including providing free- and reduced-price lunches for needy schoolchildren, dramatically cutting the smoking rate, establishing marriage equality, establishing the 911 emergency response system, and many others. The report presents a framework for audacious philanthropy that includes five key components of successful efforts.