Lou Frey Institute Honored as National Model for Civics Education

by Steve Masyada, Ph.D.

The Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida, in collaboration with partners at iCivicsCampaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, hosted Democracy at a Crossroads: Our Nation’s Future Needs Innovative Civic Learning Now. The meeting took place on September 21 and was attended by civic educators, thinkers and leaders from across the country. Also known as the CivX Summit, the event featured speakers from across the political spectrum and the civics education community.

The summit was held to stress why civics matters, and to encourage those with the ability to emphasize the importance of civics education for the democratic of the Nation, to do it. Throughout the day, speakers discussed the idea of ‘civic deserts’ and the impact they have on our society and on generations of Americans.

The CivX Summit also highlighted the work of Congressman Lou Frey and Senator Bob Graham in Florida, in collaboration with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Doug Dobson, Ph.D., (Executive Director of the Lou Frey Institute) and educators across the state to establish civics as a legislative and educational priority. It was a proud moment for the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida and the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship as Congressman Frey and Senator Graham were recognized for their work with the National Civic Learning Award for Exceptional Service. In particular, the Lou Frey Institute was recognized for its work and accomplishments in building a quality civic education program in Florida’s K-12 school system.

The summit closed with a call to arms, a recognition of the need for broad support, both financially and politically, to promote for engaging, action oriented, student focused civics that forms the basis for engaged and informed citizens in a democratic society. The work of the Lou Frey Institute and its partners has a longstanding history of facilitating and promoting civic education across the state of Florida and nationally. The UCF Political Science department is proud to announce that the Lou Frey Institute is leading the charge as a model for national civics education. The following was placed into the Congressional Record on September 27:

Our last new development should be highlighted: we are issuing to our
Members a call to action on the crucially important aspect of civic
education. We have formed a partnership with the Lou Frey Institute at
the University of Central Florida. As you are surely aware, civic
education has been one of the most important issues our dear friend Lou
Frey has worked on since leaving Congress, and his institute has become
a leading voice on this topic in my home State of Florida. Included in
this partnership is the Civic Mission of Schools, which works hand in
hand with the civic education initiative of Justice Sandra Day

We envision an extremely active role for former Members to play at
the State level to be an advocate for civic education. Florida, of
course, is a great example on how civics can be restored if there is a
bipartisan consensus and commitment to make it happen.
In addition to this partnership, I am proud to share with you that we
are in the process of taking our highly successful model of the
international Congressional Study Groups and translating it for the
first time to a domestic issue: the Congressional Study Group on

The Association of Former Members of Congress will be collaborating with the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida and our partners at the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools to work on models of civic education policy and implementation, drawing on the lessons learned from the outstanding work done in Florida. The banner has been hoisted, the battle engaged, and need for quality civic education programs across the 50 states has attracted the attention of support of a community of political leaders that can help move civics education to the next level.

The Lou Frey Institute will host a conversation on civic engagement, Voting And Voting Rights, with Terri Fine, Ph.D., on October 27. More details.

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