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An Advocate of Civics Education Weighs in on Federal Audit

An advocate of civics education in K-12 schools is worried that an unfavorable federal audit of spending by the Center for Civic Education could reduce the amount of federal funding for civics programs. An audit by the U.S. Department of Education's inspector general found that a sizable share of spending by the center was not permitted under federal regulations or couldn't be properly documented.

"I am concerned," writes Peter Levine, the director of research and the director of CIRCLE, in a blog post, "that the fallout from this news may damage federal support for civic education, which is already very weak." CIRCLE stands for the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

Levine characterizes funding for civics education as "minuscule."

He said he hopes that the center is ultimately vindicated and "the charges turn out to be inaccurate or merely technical." At the same time, he notes, he has argued against the center's receiving such a large share of the funding that the federal investment provides for civics.

Whatever happens with the center, Levine says, the federal government needs to increase funding for civics education.

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