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Maine Citizenship Education Task Force
The Maine Citizenship Task Force responds to the urgent call nationally to reinvigorate among our youth the meaning of American democracy. Although public schools in America were originally created to prepare youth to participate in American democracy, and to become civic leaders, today, many believe this vital core purpose of education has been lost.
Overwhelming evidence suggests this to be true.
Responding to widespread alarm, Maine's 121st Legislature established the Commission to Study the Scope and Quality of Citizenship Education in November 2003. The Commission issued a final report in February 2004 (PDF, requires Acrobat Reader), which called for the implementation of nine strategies for strengthening citizenship education across Maine.
The recommendations called upon the Maine Department of Education to integrate into schools opportunities for real-life experiences, and for the development of civic participation skills across all content areas of the Maine Learning Results. Additionally, they called for enhanced teacher education and certification processes, the development of best-practice resources, and improved civic learning opportunities in colleges and universities across Maine.
In May 2004, Governor Baldacci signed a legislative resolve to implement the Study Commission's recommendations, thus enacting the Maine Citizen Education Task Force.
Soon thereafter, the Maine Department of Education was awarded a $150,000 two-year grant from the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools to support the work of the Task Force. Under the auspices of the grant, the Task Force is pursuing four interrelated goals:
The grant also provides support to the Maine Legislative Youth Advisory Council -- an 18-member youth council with statutory authority to submit legislation to the Maine Legislature.
In addition, although not funded by the grant from the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Task Force is focused on strengthening opportunities for civic engagement among students in colleges and universities across Maine -- not only through greater student involvement on campus, but also through service learning and other means that blend classroom learning with civic engagement in local communities.
To accomplish these ambitious goals, the Task Force has established five subcommittees.
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