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National Institute for Civil Discourse

NICD, a non-partisan organization based at the University of Arizona that would promote healthy and civil political debate. The National Institute for Civil Discourse integrates research, practice and policy to support and engage: Elected officials who are capable of working to solve the big issues facing our country. A public that demands civil discourse as well as government that works in the best interests of the country as a whole. A media that informs citizens in a fair and responsible way.

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The denominations behind the effort say confrontations like this one, at a Trump rally this summer in New Hampshire, might be less angry if more people spoke to their political opponents as they would want to be spoken to.

Christian groups unite to push Golden Rule during the coming campaign

Leaders of more than a dozen Christian denominations are turning to one of the most well-known tenets of their faith for the solution to the toxic tone of political discourse in the country.

It's the Golden Rule: Treat someone as you would want to be treated. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Beginning Sunday and ending with the presidential election a year from now, those denominations will conduct a set of activities titled "Golden Rule 2020: A Call for Dignity and Respect in Politics." (More information about the effort and guidance for how to participate is here.)

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Civic Ed
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The Civic Circle's seven steps are as relevant to adults as to kids, and also to the movement to revive democracy, writes Carney.

What a new civics course for kids can teach adults about bettering democracy

Carney is founder of The Civic Circle, a civics education nonprofit, and writes the Democracy Rules column for The American Prospect.

Civic education is back, and not for the first time. In recent decades, policy makers, educators and democracy advocates have launched one initiative after another with promises to finally make American government relevant and compelling to students.

Mostly, these have failed. We've had commissions, studies, federal funding. We've had debates over whether kids should learn the three branches of government and the Bill of Rights, or learn how to mobilize for equity and social justice. Nothing, it seems, has worked. Adults and kids alike remain appallingly ignorant of the most basic facts about American democracy, from which rights the First Amendment protects to the three branches of government.

Part of the problem is that textbooks and curriculum materials tend to overemphasize things like the granular details of the War of 1812, while ignoring more compelling questions like: What is democracy? How can you make it work for you? Existing civic instruction also tends to focus almost exclusively on middle and upper schoolers. This misses a key window during elementary school, when kids are forming their views of what's fair, where they fit in and what it takes to get along with others.

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Big Picture

Dear presidential candidates: Use your manners

The National Institute for Civil Discourse has a message for the 20 Democratic presidential candidates who will participate in debates on Wednesday and Thursday nights: Remember first grade.

In other words, don't poke your neighbor, wait your turn, and if you can't say something nice, don't say anything.

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