Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy today announced the launch of Civics for Life, an online, adult civics education platform that supports anyone who wants to learn more about civics, develop their understanding and capacity for civil discourse, and make a difference for themselves, their family, and their communities.
According to a 2022 Annenberg Center for Public Policy survey, 1 in 4 Americans cannot name a single branch of the U.S. government. According to a 2022 poll from Yahoo News and YouGov.com, 49% of Americans believe that the U.S. will cease to be a democracy in the future.
As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has stated, “We have a complex system of government. You have to teach it to every generation.” Justice O’Connor celebrates her 93rd birthday later this week and was honored today at the Institute’s Annual Legacy Luncheon, which occurs every year during Women’s History Month. “Civics for Life is the Institute’s birthday gift to Justice O’Connor,” noted board co-chair Gay Firestone Wray.
The Civics for Life platform aims to address the knowledge gap of countless Americans who did not receive or received very little civics education during their school years. Justice O’Connor was the first woman nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States of America in 1981 by then President Ronald Reagan.
“Civics for Life will continue Justice O’Connor’s legacy of working valiantly to counter these alarming trends,” said Sarah Suggs, president and CEO, Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy. “We believe being informed and participating in your community and government is a simple and effective recipe for being the best citizen you can be and preserving our system of government, no matter one’s political views.”
Civics for Life will provide resources for all ages across the country through:
- Robust and user-friendly civics educational materials.
- An ever-expanding library of online conversations and debates with policymakers, authors, and thought leaders showcasing the rich variety of ideas, questions, and concerns that are important to citizens.
- Input Circle and Public Square online communities will demonstrate civil and productive discourse and engagement.
- Audio, video, and written resources advance civics education and civil discourse.
- Topical “dueling op-ed” written contributions will elevate the best and most sophisticated arguments on both sides of a newsworthy civics-related issue.
- Online publication, Civics for Life Quarterly, will focus on content that connects civics to our daily lives.
“Civics for Life embraces a lifelong learning approach, and we are eager to not only disseminate civics knowledge but create it as well,” said Matthew P. Feeney, board co-chair, Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy. “We’re currently working on the production of original research that will add to the important national conversation about civics and public policy.”
Civics for Life has been funded in part by the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation® (AAA-ICDR Foundation®), the Burton Family Foundation, and individual donors.
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