I don’t know if you have it on your calendar, but I have it on mine: Constitution Week this year is September 17 through Sept. 23. (It is noted right next to my reminders to go to the gym.... but that's another topic.)
A little hazy about what the Constitution says? This is a good week to sharpen up!
Civics is more than a class in 12th grade. It is about our values as a nation and our values in our communities. The bad news is that yet another survey has confirmed that Americans are very hazy about what the Constitution says. The better news in California is that our schools have a renewed emphasis on how to become a good citizen.
Being a good citizen does not come in our DNA. It is something we teach each generation. It is one of the most important missions of our public schools.
California has ramped up its civics teaching, with civics education starting in Kindergarten.
No, that does not mean our little ones are studying the legislative, executive and judicial separation of powers. But it does mean starting in kindergarten kids explore how to participate in the governing of society.
Did I just hear someone sigh, “How timely?” There is a lot of truth to Robert Fulghum’s observation: “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten".
A good first step is learning about rules and working together. Teachers and students can:
Civic learning is powerful when it extends beyond the classroom, engaging students in experiences such as service learning and advocacy. California's Civics Learning Award recognizes schools for bringing civics to life. Here are examples of ways you and your school can engage students:
In California, although students can't vote until they are 18, they don't have to wait until their birthday to register. The office of the California Secretary of State provides a Back to School Pre-Registration Toolkit to help encourage sixteen- and seventeen-year olds to pre-register. The Toolkit provides sample social media posts, downloadable posters and brochures you can use to join the campaign.
Can you pass the US Citizenship and Immigration Test? Nothing like a little family competition. Why not sit down with your high school student and see who can pass the test?
If you want to dig a little deeper, try Ed100 Lesson 6.15.
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