The last session of the NSSSA conference (my version of a #NCSS17 precon) was a quick overview of the Generation Citizen group’s work on creating civically engaged students. And with the Kansas BOE’s vision of a K-12 Civic Engagement coming online, I was curious how their ideas and practices can help teachers in Kansas.
I’ve poked around their site and explored a few of their tools but loved hearing from Sarah, director of programming, and Caitlan, Bay Area Program Manager, talk about specifics. (I especially loved their very intentional low-tech presentation style. Large sticky paper. Colored construction paper for highlights. Markers. Very nice!)
There really is some cool things that their team is doing around the country. And while Generation Citizen is choosing to focus most of its work on specific areas around the country rather than a full blown national campaign, there are a few things people can take away from their work. Read more
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of yelling going on. Social media. Cable news. Local coffee shops. People disagreeing, not getting along, refusing to compromise their “values.”
And school classrooms can seem like a safe space where we can protect our students from all of that ugliness. Education Week survey data gathered back in February suggested that many teachers find it difficult to talk about race, politics, and other controversial topics. Almost 30 percent expressly avoid it completely. Part of the problem is that many of us – 44 percent – don’t feel prepared to lead conversations that might get emotional.
So . . . two questions here. Read more
We all know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. It’s a great story with a pretty amazing cast. (I’m looking at you #Hamilton.) And we all have our favorite actors in that story. My fave?
He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.
Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?
And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign in 1787: Read more
It’s a little bit the perfect storm. Tomorrow is Women’s Equality Day, Constitution Day is in a few weeks, and Kansas is encouraging schools across the state to develop civic engagement programs.
So it seems like a good time to share a few lessons and resources that focus on voting rights. Use the resources below to help your students develop context, connect past events with contemporary issues, and practice historical thinking skills. Read more
“As a mapmaker, I can have more impact on an election than a campaign. More of an impact than a candidate. When, I as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system is out of whack.”
Republican redistricting consultant following 1990 Census
I don’t think we spend enough time having kids explore the whole gerrymandering thing as part of our government / civics engagement instruction. David is right. And I don’t think enough of us understand the power that redistricting can have on the democractic process.
Quick primer. Gerrymandering is the legislative act of creating voting maps that favor your particular political party. And according to a recent Wired article, it usually involves one of two different tools: Read more