Ball State's Center for Economic and Civic Learning Champions Indiana Civic Engagement Milestone

March 31, 2024

The Center for Economic and Civic Learning at Ball State alongside the Indiana Bar Foundation was involved in the legislative journey of SB 211, introducing an Excellence in Civic Engagement designation for Indiana schools and students. The Center, under the guidance of Dr. David J. Roof, played a role in shaping and promoting the SB211.

The Excellence in Civic Engagement designation is designed to acknowledge and honor schools and students who demonstrate exemplary engagement in civic activities. These activities range from dedicated volunteer work and engaging in project-based learning pertinent to understanding civil society and democratic principles. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is responsible for establishing the criteria for this designation, ensuring a broad inclusion of activities that qualify for recognition. The initiative is poised to benefit students commencing high school in the Fall of 2025.

SB 211 facilitates a recognition system for Indiana schools that excel in fostering a deep comprehension among students about the workings of civil society, the principles underpinning constitutional governance, and the values of democracy. This legislation marks a significant milestone in promoting U.S. values and active participation in civic life among students.

Charles Dunlap, President and CEO of the Indiana Bar Foundation, celebrated the passage of this legislation, highlighting the collective efforts and dedication of Indiana's students, educators, and the broader educational community. He remarked, "The Excellence in Civic Engagement designation will not only spotlight those deeply involved in civic activities but will also bolster our state’s commitment to a robust civic education." He acknowledged the collaborative efforts behind this legislative achievement. Dr. Roof stated, "SB 211 underscores our collective dedication to building a society where civic understanding and contribution to our community and democracy are not just encouraged but embodied in the educational journey of every student.” 

In tandem with promoting SB 211, the Center for Economic and Civic Learning at Ball State spearheads various civic and democracy-related projects locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.  One initiative in collaboration with Muncie Community Schools called CREATE exemplifies the Center's commitment to enhancing civic understanding and engagement. By integrating civic education into the curriculum in innovative and interactive ways, the project aims to empower students with a deepened understanding of their roles and responsibilities within a democratic society.

The Center for Economic and Civic Learning extends its gratitude to Senator Jeff Raatz, and State Representatives Chuck Goodrich, Elizabeth Rowray, and Robert Behning, for their support and advocacy for SB 211. The Center also appreciates the crucial collaboration with Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner, in pushing forward civic education initiatives across our State.


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