The Council for Citizenship Education was established in 1990 at Russell Sage College as a legacy project of the New York State Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. The Council is directed by Stephen L. Schechter, professor of Political Science at Russell Sage College. The purpose of the Council is to equip citizens of New York State and elsewhere with the knowledge and skills for thoughtful and effective participation in the public life of their local community, state, nation, and international system in the 21st century.

Below is a list of projects of the Council.

School Partnerships

Crossroads was a three-year (1992-1995) college-school partnership in curriculum development with Niskayuna School District, Niskayuna, NY, which produced a K-16 curriculum in American history and history education with the assistance of the Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching (FIRST) of the U.S. Department of Education. This curriculum received an award in 1995 as a Program of Excellence from the New York State Council for the Social Studies. The curriculum can be accessed through AskERIC (the Internet service of the ERIC system).

Crossroads of Civilization was a one-year (1996) Goals 2000 college-school partnership with the Albany City School District to develop a sixth-grade World History/Global Studies curriculum as a complement to the Crossroads American history curriculum.

Connections was a three-year (1994-1997) college-school partnership in professional development with Niskayuna and Albany City School Districts to develop elementary, middle and high school level interdisciplinary sets of curriculum and assessment vehicles with the assistance of the Fund for Innovation in Education (FIE) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Other Curriculum Programs

Critical Decisions, undertaken in cooperation with The New York Historical Society and the Tricentennial Committee of the New York State Court of Appeals, is a curriculum development program designed to develop a secondary education curriculum on the legal history of New York State comprising six case studies from the Judiciary Act of 1691 to MacPherson v. Buick Motor Company (1913).

Dream 2000 is a tolerance education program undertaken in cooperation with middle schools in the Capital Region organized around the King Cantata, a celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

Labor Legacy Project is an ongoing program of labor and law education, housed at the COUNCIL and sponsored by the NYS AFL-CIO, NYS Building and Construction Trades Council, NYS Education Department, NYS Labor Department, and the NYS United Teachers (NYSUT). With the assistance of the NYS Child Labor Education Fund, the NYS Education Department, and labor unions, the Project has completed publication of a two-volume teacher’s guide, From Forge to Fast Food, on the history of child labor in New York State from colonial times to the present.

National Standards for Civics and Government, developed by the Center for Civic Education, Calabasas, CA, were reviewed and disseminated in New York State through coordination by the COUNCIL.

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is an ongoing national civics education program in which the Council is the state coordinator for New York. The Council distributes complimentary textbooks, coordinates inservice trainings, organizes a statewide competition in March each year, and coordinates the work of thirty-one coordinators in each congressional district in the state. This program is coordinated nationally by the Center for Civic Education with the support of the U.S. Department of Education.

We the People: Project Citizen is an ongoing middle school civics education curriculum in which classes use a public policy approach to develop a portfolio in which they address a problem and present alternatives to that problem. The Council serves as New York State coordinator of this program which is administered nationally by the Center for Civic Education and co-sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

International Partnerships

Civitas: An International Civic Education Exchange Program is a network of U.S. centers, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Center for Civic Education, the ERIC Clearinghouse and Social Studies Development Center at Indiana University, the Florida Law-Related Education Association, the Mershon Center at Ohio State University, and the Council, established in 1995 with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). Each center works with partner organizations in an assigned country in Central and Eastern Europe. The Council, together with the AFT, is working with the Russian Association of Civics Education organized by the Uchitelskaja Gazeta (The Teacher’s Newspaper) and Grazhdanin (The Citizenship Foundation). In its first year, 1995-1996, the Sage-AFT partnership organized an exchange program including a 40-day American institute for ten Russian educators and Russian site visits by ten American educators. The kick-off event for the international network was a Civitas Conference located in Prague in June 1995, sponsored by Presidents Bill Clinton and Vaclev Havel.

Foundations of Democracy is an institute in civics education held each year for Central and Eastern European educators undertaken with the support of the USIA. This program was recognized in 1995 by the Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) as a semi-finalist for its International Program of Excellence Award. In 1995 and 1996, this program was expanded with the support of the USIA to include a year-long program via computerized listserve with teachers participating in the NIS-US Teacher Exchange Program (NISTEP) from the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union.

Community Partnerships

Covenant for a Better Troy is a collaborative project begun in May 1995 to help rebuild Troy as a civil community, sponsored by The Sage Colleges (including the Council for Citizenship Education) and the Troy Area United Ministries. The Council is also involved in other Troy community projects including neighborhood beautification projects.

Rebuilding Civil Community is a series of three annual conferences bringing together community leaders from selected “cities of the prairie” to compare recent experiences in rebuilding their civil communities after the decline of their manufacturing base since the early 1980s. The conference series includes participants from approximately one dozen medium-sized cities which have been under study since the 1960s. The findings of that ongoing study have been published in Cities of the Prairie (1970) and Cities of the Prairie Revisited (1986). The conference is coordinated by the Council director, who has been a member of the research team since 1974. The series is sponsored by the Bradley Foundation and the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University where the Cities of the Prairie Project is housed.

Working Together in the Capital Region is the final report of the New York State Commission on the Capital Region (1995-1997) in which recommendations on regionalization initiatives are made to local governments, the State Legislature, and the Governor. The Council director served as the Senior Research Advisor to the Commission. The report can be accessed on-line at Capital Region Information Service of New York.

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