(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Indiana Bar Foundation is creating a civic education task force to study methods of instruction, programs and educational outcomes to improve civic education opportunities throughout the state. The newly formed task force will be chaired by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and will prepare specific, actionable recommendations based on research and ideas from around the country and the state. The desire of the task force is to “move the needle” on Indiana’s overall civic health.
The creation of this task force comes as a recommendation from the 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index. The Indiana Civic Health Index measures how active citizens are engaged in their communities using a variety of data points including voting, volunteering and the public’s trust in various societal institutions compared to other states.
Based upon recent academic studies by Dr. Diana Owen at Georgetown University, civic education has a direct bearing on civic dispositions including political tolerance, the likelihood to vote and participation in modern democracy and the community. Even though the Indiana voter turnout rate surged in 2018 to 49.3%, an increase of 14.2% from 2014, Indiana still only ranked 43rd in the nation.
“Indiana must put a priority on civic education for Hoosiers of all ages and backgrounds so they can be informed on the issues and engaged in the process,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “I am honored to chair this new task force and look forward to partnering with the other members so we can improve civic education opportunities statewide.”
The Lumina Foundation awarded a grant to the Indiana Bar Foundation to support the work of the civic education task force. Members of the task force are listed below. The group will convene for the first time in March with a goal to issue a report in late 2020.
- Chair: Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Lieutenant Governor
- Dr. Lemuel Watson, Dean, Indiana University School of Education
- Senator J.D. Ford, Indiana Senate District 29
- Senator R. Michael Young, Indiana Senate District 35
- Representative Tonya Pfaff, Indiana House District 43
- Representative Tony Cook, Indiana House District 32
- Hon. Connie Lawson, Indiana Secretary of State
- Hon. Loretta Rush, Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court
- Amy Dudas, President, Indiana Bar Foundation
- Scott Barnhart, President-Elect, Indiana Bar Foundation
- Janet Chandler, Social Studies Teacher, Hamilton Southeastern High School
- Dr. Laura Hammack, Superintendent, Brown County School Corporation
- Dennis Bland, President, Center for Leadership Development
- Dr. Elizabeth Osborn, President, Indiana Council on Social Studies
- Kevin Brinegar, President & CEO, Indiana Chamber of Commerce
- Dr. Eva Zygmunt, Professor, Ball State University Teachers College
- Hon. Randall Shepard, Former Chief Justice of Indiana
- Hon. Greg Zoeller, Former Indiana Attorney General
- Hon. Lee Hamilton, Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Bill Moreau, President, Indiana Citizen Education Foundation