What is CIVICS?

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civics Civics is the science of comparative government and means of administering public trusts—the theory of governance as applied to state institutions. It is usually considered a branch of applied ethics and is certainly part of politics. Within any given political tradition or ethical tradition, civics refers to education in the obligations and the rights of the citizens under that tradition. When these change, so often does the definition of civics. Related education in history, religion and media literacy is often included. In the United States, this is the explicit rationale for public education—to ensure the United States Constitution is upheld by citizens who must, at least, know what it is. When applied to cities and their organization, it is often very difficult to distinguish civics from theories of urban planning. When applied to rural areas, it is difficult to distinguish from theories of rural development. The history of civics dates back to the earliest theories of ... more
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Civics is a branch of political science which focuses on the role of citizens in their governments. In many nations, civics is a fundamental part of student instruction for students who are about to graduate, ensuring that every citizen has at least a basic knowledge of civics. The study of civics may be combined with economics, because political and economic systems are often closely intertwined, and understanding both can be key to succeeding in society. Students of civics look at both the duties and entitlements of citizens, ranging from paying taxes to receiving health care. They may also examine some of the larger ethical issues involved in politics, along with the workings of specific systems of government. At a basic level, civics informs people about the societies they live in, and how they can interact with the government. On a more advanced level, civics can involve an exploration of the social issues of a society, and look at the way in which history, social norms, ... more
Civics is the study of the workings of governments and of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Individuals involved in the specialized study of government and the obligations of citizenship are called political scientists. In this chapter, elementary school students will be referred to as young political scientists because in dynamic social studies classroom, they participate in citizenship education activities throughout the year, applying their civic knowledge to the solution of real problems just like professional political scientists. The unquestioned principal goal of public education over the years has been to prepare students for effective citizenship. The National Council for the Social Studies (2001) has defined an effective citizen as one who has the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to assume the office of citizen in our democratic republic (p. 319). To ready themselves to occupy this esteemed office, the NCSS (2001) advises that students participate in ... more
The word civics comes from the Latin word civis, meaning citizen. In ancient Rome, where the word was first used, only wealthy landowners were allowed to be citizens. Therefore, they enjoyed special privileges that common people did not share. Today, citizen means being a member of a community with a government and laws. Government, the power or authority that rules a country, is an essential party of every nation and of many communities. A government makes laws, provides services, and keeps order, forming the framework for citizenship. Governments not only make laws, but also make sure that people obey the laws. When people know that they will be punished if they break the law, they are less likely to do so. In addition to providing and enforcing laws, governments serve many other purposes. They set up armed services, police forces, and fire departments to protect their citizens. They provide services, such as education, health facilities, and road construction, that most ...
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• Civics is the study of government and politics. • The United States is a free country, so people can express their opinions freely. • You can write the President of the United States and tell him what you think. more
CIVICS sends Harvard undergraduates into 5th-8th grade Boston and Cambridge classrooms once a week for 8-10 weeks per semester to teach students about the US government and how it is relevant in their lives. Teachers work in groups of two or three to present the basics of government through a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. While the lessons teach the mechanics of the political process, we also make connections to current events and emphasize the importance of personal involvement in the system. Students who are involved with CIVICS routinely cite it as their favorite activity at Harvard. more

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