Clarkson’s D’Amuro to speak at civic education forum

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The New York State Bar Association has scheduled a convocation next month to explore ways to improve civic knowledge across the state. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is slated as a key speaker for the daylong Civics Convocation

“We are at a crisis point in civic education in New York and the nation,” says Richard Lewis, president of the Bar Association. “In an endless sea of misinformation, how can we better prepare our students and ourselves to think more critically about what we read and hear? If we don’t have a collective understanding of how our government functions, it will be difficult—if not impossible—for us to play the very important role of citizens in this democracy.”

Clarkson educator Nick D’Amuro was invited to participate in the May 9 daylong assembly in Albany after being featured in a Rochester Beacon article in March. At that time D’Amuro, instructional coordinator for Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services and a Republican councilman in Clarkson, was preparing for a virtual panel during the weeklong national iCivics conference.

D’Amuro plans to talk with the Bar Association group about New York K-12 education’s emphasis on evaluating schools based on standardized test scores in math and English and language arts. The state’s recent development of an optional “seal of civic readiness” for schools and students is a step in the right direction but still doesn’t provide adequate reason for districts to prioritize social studies, he says.

Panelists in D’Amuro’s session will include state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa; Regents Chancellor Lester Young Jr.; and Jonathan Collins, associate director of the Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College of Columbia University. A separate panel will include David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute in Arlington, Va.; Emma Humphries, chief education officer at iCivics; Andrew Wilkes, chief policy and advocacy officer at Generation Citizen; and Verneé Green, chief executive at Mikva Challenge. Sotomayor will speak virtually and field questions.

“The civics convocation task force is preparing a fact-finding report about how to improve civic education and if approved by our governing body, we will advocate for its recommendations,” says Lewis.

Janice Bullard Pieterse is a freelance journalist and author of ” Our Work Is But Begun: A History of the University of Rochester 1850-2005.” The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

One thought on “Clarkson’s D’Amuro to speak at civic education forum

  1. How to improve civic education. Interesting. That effort begins with a system that actually teaches kids. The RCSD and in particular the RCSB cannot and maybe even will not, teach the way kids learn. Our K-12 urban education is a disaster decades in the making. Civic education? How about the basics of reading writing and math. I have to hand it to the upper crust, especially the Bar Association…are you that disconnected with the urban plight?. Richard Lewis, CALL ME AND I WILL GIVE YOU A PACKED THAT WILL HAVE YOU UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE OF URBAN K-12!
    To the rest of the panelists……be glad to give you the presentation of a lifetime on k-12 urban education. I have advocated for K-12 education for 16 years. The education system is broken and has been for decades….decades! I now live in Aiken, SC in a pristine gated golf community. That said, why do I still continue to advocate for the urban kids? Because I give a damn about the basics. So, I’ll be waiting for a call. Let’s see if you are really interested, concerned or understand the depth of the Rochester urban educational failure. Semper Fi.

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