The Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, a research center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has announced that its second annual conference will take place Aug. 22 to 24 at the Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis. The public is invited to attend.
“The data is depressing,” said Sheila Kennedy, director of the Center for Civic Literacy and professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, which houses the center. “Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government. Only 21 percent of high school seniors can list two privileges that United States citizens have that noncitizens don’t. Fewer than a quarter of the nation’s 12th-graders are proficient in civics. How can uninformed people make the informed decisions that are critical in our society? That is what the Center for Civic Literacy addresses, and what we will discuss at our conference.”
The Center for Civic Literacy pursues an aggressive research agenda to identify and address the causes and civic consequences of Americans’ low levels of constitutional, economic and scientific knowledge. It hosts a website and blog, and publishes a quarterly newsletter and an online, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal.
The theme of this year’s conference, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Center’s National Advisory Committee, is “Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Civic Literacy Gaps on Democracy, the Economy and Society, and Charting a Path Forward.”
The program will open with a welcome from former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm, who chairs the center’s National Advisory Committee, and will include addresses from Ted McConnell, executive director of the Civic Mission of Schools Campaign; David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University; Dallas Dishman, executive director of the Geffen Foundation; and Kim McLaurin, director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, among others.