In the Democracy School Program, students choose a community problem and implement a Civic Service project to help solve it. The most effective way for students to learn the values and skills of democracy, leadership and problem solving is to practice these skills in projects to serve their school, community, nation and world. The Civic Education Center has now served over 2,000 students with civic service projects, working with community advisors to solve real problems in their school or community.
• Community benefits (people, institutions, environment, economy, security, etc.)
• Impact on students (civic education, career preparation, personal development)
• Improvement of school culture and connections with parents and community
• Professional development and community support for teachers
• Institutionalization of this instructional strategy in schools and districts
• Still earn the new State Seal of Civic Engagement
• Preparation of the next generation to meet the challenges of the 21st Century
Education Week: Supreme Court justices call for more civics education amid risk from ‘domestic enemies’
Two U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday renewed their calls for improving civics education, saying the future of the republic depends on it. “Our democracy is at risk not only from foreign but from domestic enemies,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said during an online discussion sponsored by several groups. “Democracies crumble from within,” said Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. “They crumble. And there becomes a hunger for a certain faction to take over because they’re intolerant of others. They think they know the right answer and others do not.” Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama and is considered among the more liberal members of the court, while Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump and is conservative on many issues. But both have worked on civics education initiatives since they joined the high court, and they have spoken jointly on the topic at least once before.
But Wednesday’s online session was the first since the contentious 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. The justices did not discuss those events in detail but they referred more than once to the deep political divisions in the country. “We had one of the highest turnouts in voting in the last election,” said Sotomayor. “Yet, at the same time, we see some of the cracks in our system. We have a great deal of partisan, very heated debate going on. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can turn into an awful thing, into something that destroys the fabric of our community if we don’t learn how to talk to each other, how to discuss things with each other, and how to change things in a positive rather than a negative way.”
The Civics Secures Democracy Act
Take action: bit.ly/supportcivics
Watch Visalia Unifieds’ Student Services Director Brandon Gridiron discuss Black History in Tulare County. This video is an outcome of the District’s Common Ground Task Force facilitated by our CEO Stephen Morris.
The Educating for Democracy Act
The Center for American Progress reports that, as of 2018, only nine states and the District of Columbia require a full year of civics or government studies while 31 require a half year of studies and fully ten states have no civics requirements at all. That lack of emphasis is reflected in low achievement levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) and, for those students who take advanced placement U.S. government assessments, among the lowest achievement scores among the several dozen tested subject areas. The federal government, too, has chronically underinvested in support for civics education. Civics education can empower students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindsets to engage effectively in in the civic and political life of their communities. In today’s contentious civil environment, it is more important than ever that students are equipped with knowledge of our institutions and confronted with the enduring questions of civic life and political change. The Educating for Democracy Act represents a bipartisan commitment to strengthening civics education, from K-12 through higher education. Click link below to read the full report.