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Rendells Launch Civic-Education Effort

December 6, 2013
by Jacque Porte

Last month, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell and her husband, former Gov. Ed Rendell, announced a program to boost civic education through the National Constitution Center and Arcadia University. The program will focus on curriculum, professional development, and engagement in order to get young people interested in the democratic process early.

Mr. Rendell cited a poll that had shown "high school students were remarkably uninformed about our system of government,” and expressed his belief that one of the biggest challenges facing the nation "is lack of citizen engagement and participation."

Judge Rendell had long expressed a desire to bring civics education into the schools in Pennsylvania. She reported that the center’s first project was already underway in the form of an essay contest for fourth and fifth-graders.

But civic-education is only half the battle. Government agencies on state and local levels must be willing and able to provide more information with which these incentivized young people can engage. Luckily many municipalities have already embarked upon the transition to transparency by providing meeting agendas online, as well as live-streaming meetings on their website. Steps such as these encourage an informed public and foster civic engagement.

"I am very excited about [the project]," Ed Rendell said. "It's something I want to do for the rest of my life and continue to lead this effort with Judge Rendell."

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