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Guest blogger Jamie Carayiannis is an intern with the Case Foundation.
“Most Americans fail a basic test on their history and institutions,” (71% of 2,508 Americans to be exact). Pretty scary right? My thoughts exactly after hearing those results in a meeting with representatives from ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc.), the organization that conducted the test as part of their Civic Literacy Program. With these results ISI is hoping to gain a stronger following (including legislators and school stewards) in their advocacy for improved civic literacy programs, especially among colleges and universities, where they’ve found many students are graduating without a basic understanding of America’s history and institutions. Through their research, ISI is also seeking to gain a better understanding of how knowledge, engagement and civic duty are related.
Since its foundation in 1953, ISI has grown immensely, with 26,000 faculty members and 20,000 students (at over 900 colleges), and a journal (Intercollegiate Review) that they release twice a year. Additionally, ISI hosts a number of programs that allow for its members to engage in discussion about “their understanding of the American ideal of ordered liberty.” Lectures, smaller group discussions, conferences, mentoring programs and student socials are among some of these programs.
Along with offering numerous educational programs, ISI also offers a variety of fellowships that prospective graduate students can apply for. One fellowship, the William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose, is a $40,000 grant given to a graduating college senior who has “demonstrated passion, dedication, a high capacity for self-direction, and originality in pursuit of a goal that will strengthen civil society.”
For more information and resources, check out ISI’s website
What's your civic literacy score? Join the 600,000 who have already taken the online test!