Strengthening Civic and History Literacy in Schools

Thursday, June 14th, 2018, 8:00am-5:00pm, Hunter Hall: Room 208

Click here to download an application.

“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph.” – T.S. Eliot

If you are receiving this communique and are as gloomy as I sometimes am about the state of history and civic education in the schools, hopefully the above quotation will strengthen your resolve to fight for the noble cause of improving school civic and history literacy. You are also all too aware, for various reasons, of the variety of reports, media stories, and your own experiences that confirm nationally, regionally, and locally the low levels of knowledge of subjects that the founders envisioned to be a critical foundation of a resilient republic. To cite one statistic: the last (2014) National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data indicate a mere 23 percent of U.S. eighth graders scored at or above proficiency in civics; just 18 percent in U.S. history. Although the 2014 NAEP assessments did not include world history and economics, when state testing data can be located for these academic disciplines, the results are just as abysmal.  

But take heart because in mid-June, 20 participants who would like to join six master teachers and the CRC director, will spend a day both learning about innovative approaches in teaching content-rich history and government and in serious discussions about how more effective historical and civic literacy for aspiring and practicing teachers can be conceptualized and implemented in this region. The UTC Center for Reflective Citizenship (CRC) is sponsoring a one-day conference (four live teleconference sessions and two program segments featuring locals) with ample time for questions and answers. Some examples of sessions include “Civic Education: Addressing K-12 Student Knowledge Deficits,” “How Imperial Spain Influenced the U.S.,” “Content-rich History Curriculum: Elementary and Middle Schools,” "Educating Aspiring Teachers in U.S. History and Civics,” “Race and Historical Literacy: Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln,” and (Panel Discussion) “History and Civic Education: What Should Aspiring and Young Teachers Know?” A complete schedule with all sessions is available here.

We are actively seeking a diverse group of 20 committed, enthusiastic, energetic, talented, knowledgeable, and highly skilled participants from education and other professions who appreciate the opportunity to learn, network, and take advantage of further regional history and civic education opportunities. We are pleased to offer $225.00 stipends for those participants who submit the most impressive applications and who agree to the conditions for acceptance included in the application form, which you may download by clicking this link.

In order to be considered, please complete this form by on or before Wednesday, May 30th and email to Lucien Ellington at and Calli Bianchi at or fax to 423-425-5441. Highly qualified potential participants are urged to apply before the deadline because we are already accepting some of the most outstanding applications.