The NH Civic Learning Coalition’s mission is to increase and improve civics education for New Hampshire’s K-12 students, in order to develop, nurture and maintain an informed, engaged, and civil New Hampshire citizenry, participating with good faith in the democratic process.
Learn about the Coalition's development and commitment in New Hampshire.
With support from early New Hampshire-based donors, NH Civics convened a group of concerned citizens, policy-makers, heads of nonprofit organizations, educators, and civic leaders to support civics education in K-12 schools throughout New Hampshire.
Currently, New Hampshire students take one half-credit course in civics over their entire educational career. Coalition members were united in the belief that NH’s young people deserve greater access to civic knowledge, preparation, and skills so they can graduate equipped with the tools necessary to be informed, engaged citizens.
The group, entitled the New Hampshire Civic
The scope of the Coalition’s work included the examination of: how civics is currently taught in the public schools, what is occurring on the national level and in other states, and listening to national leaders in the field of civics education and elected officials from the House of Representatives and the Senate in New Hampshire to ultimately develop recommendations for the State of New Hampshire and its schools.
The Coalition met six times, the first of which took place in June of 2021. Subsequent meetings occurred in September and November of 2021 and in January, March, and May of 2022.
Additionally, subgroups of the Coalition met at various times throughout the year, sharing their discussions, processes, and ultimately, their work products and recommendations with the Coalition at whole group sessions.
A detailed summary of the Coalition’s first year of work can be found in our “New Hampshire Civic Learning Coalition Report, June 2022.” [PDF Viewing and Download]
Equity - Access by all students to high-quality civic learning opportunities must be universal and culturally responsive. Recommendations are offered for achieving greater opportunity and access for all students, regardless of race, gender, cultural and linguistic background or socio-economic status:
Professional Development/Media Literacy - In order for the professional development initiative to work, school districts and administrators must support the importance of social studies/civics education in all grades K-12:
Time Requirements - NH RSA 189:11 requires “regular courses of instruction in the history, government and constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire ... [beginning] not later than the beginning of eighth grade” (RSA 189:11 eff. Sept. 21, 2020). The law then specifies the required content in civics education and requires each student to pass the United States Citizenship Test before graduation. The Coalition recommends revisions to RSA 189:11 that would reflect a high-quality social studies education for New Hampshire students, using modern practices and language from the CivX Now suggestions. The recommendations to RSA 189:11 include removing the reference to eighth grade; adding a requisite civic course at the middle school level; and requiring dedicated time for the teaching of social studies in elementary school. To that end, the recommendations are:
The "More Time for Civics" Bill (SB 216) would define civics as a non-partisan subject, and require that educators focus on civics and increase the time spent on the teaching of civics, particularly in the elementary and middle grades. Learn more:
Youth Voice - The identification of current legislation, policies, and resources for school and school districts suggests that there are multiple ways to increase student voice in the State Of New Hampshire. Using a four-tiered approach, actions for creating a youth voice infrastructure in the state of New Hampshire are as follows:
Although these recommendations are presented in categories, they are intended to work in concert and complement one another in their implementation. Developing a deeper understanding of the challenges that civics education faces in our schools and then creating a multi-pronged approach to address those challenges will ultimately benefit all students in public schools across the State of New Hampshire.
In spring 2022, NH Civics hosted Building Civic Strength: NH Community Conversations with Laura Knoy, five community conversations throughout NH in partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio and moderated by Laura Knoy, former host of NHPR’s acclaimed call-in news show, The Exchange.
These conversations provided an opportunity for community members all across the state to share their thoughts on civics education, which informed the work of the Coalition. Conversations took place in Berlin, Franklin, Rochester, Nashua and Rindge and explored questions around civics education such as: "How do we build civic strength?" and “What can we do to best prepare ourselves and our youth to take on the responsibilities of participation in a democratic society?”
Each event featured a different panel of guest speakers from diverse backgrounds, including at least one youth panelist and panelists of varied political views at each event.
It is estimated that through being aired on NHPR, 32,000 people listened or participated in the series. To learn more about the conversations and to access broadcast recordings, please visit: nhcivics.org.
Building Civic Strength: Community Conversations at the Nashua Library. Photo credit: Josh Gibney.
With continued New Hampshire-based support and the addition of a generous grant from the national CivXNow coalition (and the Carnegie Foundation) the NH Civic Learning Coalition will continue into its second year beginning in August 2022.
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