I’m a history guy. My shelves are full of history related titles. (Current reads? The Wright Brothers and the Oregon Trail.) I taught US history to 8th graders and World History to college kids. Did my graduate research on the Kansas Mennonite reaction to World War One.
But my first love was political science. I earned my high school government credit by campaigning for Kansas governor John Carlin and registering voters in Garden City. Graduated with a BA in political science and thought briefly about taking the civil service exam so I could apply to the State Department.
Several weeks ago, I was called to task by a secondary government teacher because there’s not enough civics and government stuff on History Tech. And I realized, yeah . . . maybe I could spend a few more minutes here and there focusing on some government resources. So today? Five of my favorite go to government goodies. Read more
This is why we do what we do. Isn’t it?
Isn’t this a major part of our task? Create students that are informed and thoughtful citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves? Develop active engaged citizens
that collaborate, contribute, compromise, and participate as an active member of a community?
Voting is essential piece of participatory democracy. Without this sort of input from actual citizens, seriously . . . what’s the point? And the various founding documents and historical interpretations of those documents define what the voting / election process looks like. One ugly piece of American history is that many times, those interpretations excluded huge swaths of citizens from that process.
That is why Voting Rights Act of 1965 was so powerful. Important. Necessary.
Why was it needed?
Presented by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, my #NCSS14 session two focused on ways to engage students directly with actual issues in their communities through direct civic action.
They suggest that you can turn your government classroom into a hands-on civics lab to teach the workings of government by empowering students.
They shared about their Civics Action Project, a Read more
If you haven’t already figured it out, I can be a bit of a cynic. And becoming more so as the last ads of the campaign cycle through. (I’m looking at you Kansas Governor Brownback. Seriously? You’re running this ad?)
But I’m a firm believer that one of the most important duties we have as US citizens is to vote. In every election. Dogcatcher to president. So next Tuesday is already on my calendar. The sad thing is that many of us won’t be voting next week. Typical turnout for midterm elections is around 40%. And I thing that at least some of that has to do with a lack of information.
Where do I vote? When are voting hours? Sad to say but I still hear questions such Who’s running?
To help solve some of the confusion the Voting Information Project (VIP), developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Google, and election officials nationwide, is offering tools that give voters access to the customized information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.
The widget below comes from the VIP. Get your own embed code here. Get the WordPress code here.
And help get people to where they belong next Tuesday.
(Need a few more election tools? Head here for a quick list.)
Many of you have asked for specific resources that focus on the upcoming mid-term elections. Hopefully this quick list of tools will help:
“Sorting out the truth in politics”
Access. Analyze. Act
Discover the power of social media while promoting your students’ civic engagement
CNN Election Center
Monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players
FactCheck’s educator’s page
Who’s buying your politician?
Originally designed for the 2008 election, this site does a great job breaking down election data
Tracks political polls for U.S. federal elections
Yahoo Political Dashboard
Same thing, just from Yahoo
HuffPost Election Center
Great charts and graphs
Talking Points Memo Poll Tracker
All Sides Election Center
Sweet site that provides news / commentary from left, center, right perspectives
VoteSmart / VoteEasy
How to vote and who you should vote for
C-Span’s Election Classroom
Center for Action Civics
Student News Daily