CONTACT: David Albert
Only 50 percent of school board members who responded to a recent NYSSBA poll said their districts are sufficiently preparing students to understand the role citizens play in a democracy. Accordingly, more than two-thirds would like to see civic readiness become a graduation requirement in New York.
Nearly 40 percent of board members said they believe debates over political issues have polarized their school districts.
"School board members place high importance on providing students with the skills and experiences they will need to become responsible, informed and engaged citizens," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "These results demonstrate that a majority of respondents – nearly 70 percent – want to ensure that schools throughout New York do better on this front by making civic readiness a requirement for graduation."
Currently, there is no specific proposal to make civic readiness a graduation requirement in New York. However, the state is developing a "civic readiness index" as part of its new school quality and accountability system. Civic readiness is an accountability factor under the state's plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The poll is not a scientific sampling of school board members, and results do not represent official positions of the New York State School Boards Association.
A summary of the questions and results follows here:
- Overall, do you think your district does a good job preparing students to understand the role citizens play in a democracy?
- Do you think civic readiness (a measure of the degree to which students are engaged in the political process) should be a requirement for graduation?
- Do you think debates over political issues have polarized your school district?
Yes, to a large degree
Yes, to a small degree