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Some Kentucky elected officials and educators call for more civics education in schools


Kentucky has received a C overall in the 2023 Civics Health Assessment. The survey asks 800 likely Kentucky voters questions in three topics: Civic Knowledge, Social Civics, and Polarization. In response, officials recommend an increase in high school civics education.

The results of the assessment showed Kentucky received a C on Civics Knowledge, a D+ on Social Civics, and a B on Polarization. In Civic Knowledge, the assessment found just half of Kentuckians surveyed could name the three branches of government and less than half could name a local elected official.

Jim Masterson is the Chair of the Department of History, Philosophy, Political Science, Global and Legal Studies at Morehead State University. He said he believes civics education is more important now than ever before. He noted that according to a report based on the National Assessment of Education Progress, 8th graders’ knowledge of civics has declined for the first time in 25 years.

“The test that they give to 8th graders found that just 13% of students were proficient in U.S. history and 22% were proficient in civics, and nationally only 68% of students claimed to take a U.S. history course, while less than half, 49% took a civics course,” said Masterson.

Masterson added that Kentucky students need to have courses not only in civics and U.S. history but also in media and information literacy.

“Our middle school and high school populations are on social media en masse, they don’t have the equipment, the tools, the education to safeguard themselves from these messages. A greater volume of these messages are either false or have criminal intent than ever before,” said Masterson.

Most states require some form of formal civil education in the classroom. Kentucky is one of the few that does not. Secretary of State Michael Adams said a more concrete civics exam for high school graduates is needed. Another recommendation is the creation of a Kentucky ‘Blue Book’ of politics, which many states also have.