Secretary of State Trey Grayson appeared before the Kentucky Senate Education Committee today to release Rediscovering Democracy: A Report on the Kentucky Summit on Civic Literacy. The report outlines the efforts of the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK) and the corresponding summit that was held last October.
“Certainly, there is much more that Kentucky has to do in order to increase the civic literacy and engagement of our citizens, but there are also incredibly successful programs throughout the Commonwealth that are making an impact on our citizens, especially our young people,” Grayson stated. “We intend to study this issue further in order to provide the legislature with a clear recommendation for further action.”
In particular, Grayson reported on the actions taken at the Kentucky Summit on Civic Literacy. Secretary Grayson (R-Boone County), Senator Jack Westwood (R-Crescent Springs), Representative Tanya Pullin (D-South Shore), the Kentucky Department of Education, the Administrative Office of the Courts, as well as other national and state community leaders came together on October 5th, 2004 to discuss the state of civic literacy among Kentucky’s youth. The Summit was hosted in conjunction with the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Literacy at Northern Kentucky University.
The Civics Summit represented the beginning of a multi-year effort that will determine a strategy for enhancing long-term civic engagement and civic literacy within the Commonwealth.
The Summit featured national experts on civic engagement including 9/11 Commission Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton and Director of the Campaign to Promote Civics Education Ted McConnell. After presentations from different civic programs across the Commonwealth, summit attendees received a preliminary assessment on the state of civic education in the state of Kentucky. Participants ended the day with a discussion on ways to increase civic engagement among youth so that young Kentuckians can actively participate in all areas of civic life.
Grayson noted that the next step for the Initiative is to study civic literacy and engagement efforts in regions across the Commonwealth. The first regional meeting will be held at the Greenbo Lake State Park on March 14, 2005. All citizens who are interested in increasing the civic literacy and engagement of Kentucky’s youth are encouraged to attend.
The CLIK is, in part, a result of the Annual Congressional Conference on Civic Education where more than 300 delegates from across the country came together to discuss civic involvement in the United States. The conference vowed to “take action to reaffirm the historic and civic mission of our schools … and to lead aggressive state campaigns to expand and improve civic education in the nation’s schools.”
The Kentucky delegation to the Congressional Conference and Secretary Grayson were featured presenters at the 2nd Annual Congressional Conference on Civic Education this past December. The Conference, which is scheduled for the next three years, receives bi-partisan support from Congress, and its sponsors include the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center for Civic Education, and the Center on Congress at Indiana University.
“Kentucky is lucky to have such great leaders who care about the future civic engagement of young people,” said Grayson referring to Kentucky’s delegation and the Kentucky General Assembly. “We look forward to working in a bi-partisan manner with the Legislature to improve Kentucky’s civic literacy. I am thankful for all that the members have done and will do in the future.”
For more information about the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky, a copy of Rediscovering Democracy, or to register for regional summits, please visit the CLIK’s official website: http://civicsky.nku.edu/.
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