ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

A Crisis in Civic Education

January 2016 by ACTA

The Founders admonished that informed, engaged citizens would be the indispensable guardian of our liberty. ACTA’s surveys, however, administered over the past two decades, reveal that our schools—and especially our colleges and universities—have done a poor job of ensuring the civic literacy on which our nation depends. Too many institutions fail to require courses that ensure civic knowledge and often allow community service projects, well-intentioned as they are, to substitute for deep learning about our nation’s institutions of government and their history. At present, a majority of the four-year college graduates answering a multiple-choice survey were unable to identify the method for amending the Constitution or the process for presidential impeachment. Nearly half failed to identify the correct term lengths for the houses of Congress. Ten percent thought that Judith Sheindlin—"Judge Judy"—is on the Supreme Court. A Crisis in Civic Education offers recommendations to colleges, alumni, foundations, and lawmakers to turn from civic illiteracy to vibrant, empowered participation in the nation’s civic process.


SELECTED FINDINGS

There is a crisis in American civic education. Survey after survey shows that recent college graduates are alarmingly ignorant of America's history and heritage. They cannot identify the term lengths of members of Congress, the substance of the First Amendment, the origin of the separation of powers. They do now know the Father of the Constitution, and nearly 10% say that Judith Sheindlin—"Judge Judy"—is on the Supreme Court.  Continue Reading >>

Press

EDITORIAL: America is a nation awash in historical, political ignorance

Las Vegas Review-Journal
October 4, 2018 by |

At a time when the country simmers and boils with political passions, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has revealed a paradox: While many Americans angrily denounce the current state… Continue Reading >>

Teach the Constitution

The Hill
August 31, 2018 by Timothy S. Huebner |

As students and professors return to classes in a deeply polarized America, colleges and universities should consider an addition to their curricula.  Let’s make knowing something about… Continue Reading >>

Opinion: Students need a civics education now more than ever

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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For any incoming college freshman, stumbling onto campus the first day has to be a disorienting experience. There’s so much you don’t know, ranging from where to eat to where your classes… Continue Reading >>