Citizenship Toolkit Section One: CNCS Goals for Citizenship

Section One: The Corporation's Goals for Citizenship

The Corporation for National and Community Service has issued guidance for AmeriCorps grantees that sets out a number of goals for programs to consider in developing their own citizenship training program. These training goals are:

  • Fostering within members positive attitudes regarding the value of lifelong citizenship and service for the common good;
  • Enhancing the ability of members to discuss and explore their community and the people, processes, and institutions that are most effective in improving community conditions;
  • Enhancing the ability of members to plan effective service projects that respond to real community needs; and
  • Developing the social, cultural and analytical skills necessary to effectively participate in American democracy.

How does the 2003 AmeriCorps Guidance impact my member development plan?
As chief executive officer Leslie Lenkowsky states in his Introduction, "…the 2003 Guidelines clarify the goals of this [civic education] effort, while leaving to the programs themselves considerable flexibility in the methods they use to attain them." Please consider the goals above as a starting point from which you can incorporate civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes into your member development plan. Remember you can always contact Constitutional Rights Foundation for technical support by calling our toll-free number, 1-888-900-1180.

How can I organize the broad theme of citizenship into more manageable themes for training?
To cultivate active and effective citizenship, your training plan should include opportunities for members to enhance and develop their knowledge about citizenship, their citizenship skills, and ultimately their civic attitudes.

Knowledge

The civic education component of the member development plan should include discussions that enhance members’ general knowledge of, for example:

  • American history and government;
  • The history and an understanding of the American tradition of private, voluntary action;
  • The rights and responsibilities of citizens; and
  • Local and national civic institutions.

Skills

The civic education component of your member development should aim to enhance and/or develop skills such as:

  • The ability to translate American principles of democracy into practice;
  • The ability to engage effectively in the democratic process;
  • The ability to use a variety of methods to critically evaluate public issues and public opinion polls;
  • The ability to use various methods to seek out and find information about community issues;
  • The ability to negotiate between possibly conflicting rights and responsibilities.

Attitudes

The civic education component of your member development plan would include lessons that enhance or develop:

  • Respect for the principles and values that we hold in common;
  • Recognition of the responsibilities that accompany rights and freedoms;
  • A sense of civic efficacy;
  • An appreciation for the significance of freedom and equality.

 


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