tv Education Civic Engagement CSPAN February 21, 2018 10:06am-11:38am EST
billion. last year it was $800 million plus, shortfall for the coming year. slowly but surely, we have been able to cut expenses, eliminate waste, create more efficiency, balance the budget every year, and also, be able to close the gap. what i wished that happened if only, i wish we would not have had a energy downturn that lasted so long but it did. we powered through. i know we will be in a better place when i leave office, having a lower unemployment rate, a lot more money in savings and a better educated workforce in our state. , first womanllin governor of oklahoma, in her eighth year of government as governor. we want to thank our cable partners, cox, for their help in setting this up. mexico's we are in new
state capital of santa fe. former washington, senator bob graham to talk about civics education and engagement. >> educational progress. perhaps more importantly america 's civic engagement is at an all-time low. public trust in government remains near historic lows, particularly with our nation's young people. less than half of millennials are voting and only 18% of the public trusts leaders in washington to do the right thing. this creates a vicious cycle many americans are dissatisfied with their government, yet, still fail to vote because they believe their voices will not be heard. the good news, is that across the country we can find
inspiring activists, policymakers, educators, and others who are turning apathy into action. we are honored to welcome 4 outstanding panelist this morning who are committed to motivating and engaging america's students and we look forward to hearing their insights. first, i have a great privilege of introducing our keynote speaker for today. senator bob graham. during his remarkable career as a public servant, senator graham made it his mission to make life better for folks in his home state of florida. he has served as a member of the florida legislature, the 38th governor of the state of florida, and as a member of the united states senate. office, senator graham helped to redefine the term, civic engagement. as governor he spent nearly 400 days working in a wide range of
jobs from police officer to construction worker, from fishermen to teacher, so he could better understand the challenges facing the people he represented. since leaving the senate, senator graham has devoted his energy toward training the next generation of civic leaders. he is founded the bob graham center for public service at the university of florida, to teach young people the knowledge and skills of democratic governance. he is also opened the florida joint center on citizenship to strengthen civics education in the sunshine state, and to rally the legislature to acquire a civics education for all students. senator graham truly embodies what it means to be an agent of change at this local, state and federal levels and we are so honored he could join us this morning to talk about his expenses. please join me -- talk about his
experiences. please join me in a round of applause to welcome senator bob graham. [applause] sen. graham: whitney, thank you very much for that kind introduction. thank you for the opportunity the center has given me to talk about a subject, about which i'm passionate and which i believe the nation is beginning to recognize central importance. depressed,first, saddened by what occurred at stoneman douglas high school a week ago today. and livened about what the students have done in response to that tragedy. one of the things interesting me, florida, like most states, stops teaching civics in the
1970's. civics was restored to the curriculum of our schools by legislative action in 2009. became operational in 2011. the significance of those numbers is, this group of students, now, at stoneman douglas senior high school, were the first wave of students in florida public education to have decades.s in almost 4 the fact that they are now empowered, to take actions that we are seeing, that we hope we will see actions that result in real change in the near future, is a testimony to the value of exposing young people to their rights, responsibilities and the competencies necessary to execute those rights and responsibilities as a member of a democracy.
so, we have a story within a story within a story, occurring now. event, it might be what it takes to achieve a renewal of america's awareness of the importance of preparing all of our people, particularly our young people, for their life as citizen in a democracy. this is occurring at a time when there are plenty of headlines that indicate the severity of the current circumstance. "the new yorker", "is america headed for a new kind of civil war?" a group of scholars were assembled, actually before charlottesville, to discuss the
issue of whether america was grant for, not lee versus but a new form of civil war. 35% of the participants in this program felt we were and that it would be within 10 to 15 years. of "the new york times" opined on how democracies perish. together 20 of america's political scientists to discuss democracy. they were scared, "if current trends continue for another 30 years, democracy will be toast." finally, from "the boston globe", "a toxic election is destroying democracy and young voters."
the statistics that support those headlines, are equally distressing. most americans have little knowledge of national, state or local government. a 2017 survey indicated only 26% of americans could name the three branches of government. there is a declining acceptance, of citizenship responsibility. was016, u.s. voter turnout 55.7%, which ranked us 28th among 35 developed, democratic countries in the world. local elections are even more distressing. between the beginning of this century and 10 years later, the 140er of persons in the four largest metropolitan areas of america who voted in local 26% tons declined from
20%. 2013, only 6.4% of americans belonged to an organization such as the league of women voters or co-honest club or a pta that had a goal of community action. particular,rs are a losing confidence in democracy. a survey indicated lester that 35% of millennials are losing faith in democracy -- indicated of millennials were losing faith in democracy and voter turnout in every presidential election since 2004, the lowest generational grouping have been millennials. whereas, the oldest
generation, over 65, 70 2% of americans -- 72% of americans voted, millennials were only 54%. those all indicate the validity of concerns about the state of our democracy as we begin the 21st century. why is this decline occurring? we are not alone. there has been a global movement away from democracy and towards authoritarianism. countries we used to think of as having moved past being emerging democracies to being mature ey,ocracies, such as turk have now slipped back to authoritarian rule. america are legitimately concerned as to whether, we may be on a similar path.
why is this happening? i think one of the reasons, the students in tallahassee today are living, is the question of, can democracy respond to the challenges of the day? we face this challenge throughout our history. there have been times when, we have questioned whether or not the democratic process was capable of bringing solutions to complex problems. in most of those instances, democracy has met the challenge. today, it is being challenged again. i think the students are asking the question, can something as fundamental as providing safety for young people in their educational settings, be assured? is a challenge for democratic
institutions to be able to effectively answer? we await the determination as to whether that in fact occurs. i think one of the fundamental reasons we have reached this low state, is the very fact, we stopped teaching civics in the 1970's. why did we do that? well, some of the scholars of democracy, have attributed it to the fact that in that time, there was an increasing polarization in america, with the far left, thinking that civics education was being used to militarize students so they would be more accepting of the vietnam war. people on the far right, feeling that civic education was being used to motivate students to as,ge in activities, such the civil rights movement,
women's right movement, other forms of public display, which they found to be offensive. and theeme right extreme left could agree on, civics was not a good idea. they began leading an effort, first at local level, then at state level, to eliminate civics. i graduated from miami senior high school in 1955. i had taken three, one year courses in civics between the seventh and 12th grade. that was not unusual. that was the national standard. i have 11 grandchildren. nine of them have graduated from high school. most of those nine students, have had no civics. the most any of them have had is one semester. that is what has happened in two generations of an american
family. tot do we do to begin reverse this decline? let me share a personal story. of the, i was chairman florida state senate education committee. we were holding our hearings before the legislative session in schools around florida and on this particular day, we were at wolfson high school. a middle-class, high school in jacksonville, florida. we had a slot in the agenda for students to come and talk about their concerns. on this particular day at wilson, there were a large number of students who had the same issue. probably one of the most long-standing issues in american public education.
bad food in the cafeteria. i was not surprised that the food was bad. it wasn't great at miami high. i was surprised they had come to the state senate to talk about cold pizza on variety. i asked, were we the first people they talk to? they said no, you are the third. that made me feel better until i asked who were one and two? one was the mayor of jacksonville. who empathized with the students but said, it was not his responsibility. the second, the sheriff of duval food was nosaid the doubt bad but it was not criminal, it was not his responsibility. [laughter] we were number three. weeks that story a few later when i spoke to a group of civics teachers in miami, that something was wrong if a group of bright high school students,
many of them about to graduate, had come to the conclusion that the mayor, the sheriff or the state legislature was the place you went for bad food. one of the teachers stood up and said, i am sick to death, sick to death of you politicians telling teachers how to do our work better when you don't know what in the hell you're talking about. the only way you can find out is to actually go in the classroom and experience what it is like to be around in different students. to be around parents who won't show up for parent-teacher conference. bureaucratic and all those dam laws you legislators passed that we have to live by. the only way you can find out is to actually come in the classroom. i accepted her challenge, thinking that she had in mind a couple of hours on tuesday afternoon. when she called back, she had a different idea.
to carol bob, come city senior high school, almost inner-city high school of miami. on the day after labor day at 8:00 in the morning, report to room 208 and you will be teaching 12 grade american civics for the next 18 weeks. [laughter] that was a little more than i had quite bargain for -- bargained for. i figured, i had committed myself, i was going to do it. i needed help. i found a young social science teacher in carol city who shared my ideas about how civics ought to be taught. he agreed to code teach the class. we spent -- he agreed to co-tea ch the class and we spent the summer building a curriculum based around the question, what does a citizen need to know to make democracy work for them?
what does a citizen need to know to make democracy work for them? that wethe course taught for 18 weeks. it became a life transforming event. i not only learned a lot about life and, in a modern american high school, i learned a lot about learning. the difference between learning by actually doing something and, opposed to learning by lecture or textbook. wasso learned, some of that transportable to other areas. thearted taking workdays, one in carol city was number one, i did another 407 over the next 30 years in order to feel that i had a connection and understanding with the people of
my state. 30 years later, as i retired from the u.s. senate, i was a senior fellow at the kennedy school. isaught, as every fellow required to do although at harvard, you don't teach unless you are a member of the faculty, you can lead, direct, whatever verb you want to use, but you cannot teach. i did one of those things, using a modified version of the same curriculum, what every citizen needs to know. the course, i found, harvard undergraduates of the early part of the century, were only mildly cynically illiterate, then the high school students i had taught 30 years earlier. some of the faculty at the kennedy school monitor the course and recommended i try to
put the curriculum into book form. the result of that was a book called, "america: the owner's manual. you can't fight city hall and when." -- and win." the book is based around the 10 competencies of citizenship. following the harvard model, each chapter begins with a case study of how citizens used that particular competence to achieve their objective. it describes how you can master that skill. hope students from stoneman douglas are doing that today in tallahassee. experience,om that not only is it critical to return civics to the classroom, but also critical that it be returned in the right form. most of what is now civics, is
based on a study of the institutions and processes of government. i remember one of the things i had to do in one of those one year courses was memorized the state capitals of all 50 states. i still remember to this day the capital of south dakota is minneapolis. [laughter] i personally think jefferson would have been very disturbed with this. in his early writings on the importance of public education, to a new democracy, jefferson said, "a primary goal of our schools should be to give to every citizen," i emphasize the word every. he was very critical that civics was for the elite. that every citizen should be given the information needed to
understand his duties to his neighbors and his country. and to discharge with confidence, competence is a word in adequately -- in adequately emphasized in most civics instruction. competence, with confided to him by either. that is what i think should be the purpose of a civics education. what does that convert to? oft converts to issues skills, are we preparing students with the skills that would allow them to first, discern that there is a problem? or a missed opportunity? exercise a series of
competencies necessary for overcoming the problem or achieving the missed opportunity? is like aieve, civics musical instrument or sport. you don't learn to play the piano by reading a textbook about the piano. you learn to play the piano by playing the piano. you learn civics by actually engaging. in that course i referred to with carol city, the first day we organized the students into groups of three so that they would begin to learn some of the principles of small group interaction. topic, that was of concern to them. any topic that they wanted. human rights in china, but, they one thirdonstraint: of the final grade was going to be based on what they were able
to do about the problem. were they able to move the needle over the 18 weeks? that got them focused on things that were closer to home. as an example, carol city had a private water and sewer company and there had been a long time feeling that the water that the company was providing to customers was below grade. a group of three, of students wanted to take on that issue. was it below grade? the first thing they did was they went to the chemistry department of carol city. they learned the standards you have to utilize if you are going in thisenge a product, case, water, as to its cleanliness and efficacy. civics does not occur in a vacuum. it almost always requires knowledge of other topics, in
order to be effective. with that understanding, they collected dozens of bottles of water, according to the scientific standards. they then had to find out, who was the decision-maker? it was not difficult because in our federalist system we distribute political responsibility broadly. in this case, they determined it was the county health director, who was responsible. they went to the office of the county health director with all their bottles, asked that the water be analyzed, and the finding was, yes, the water was bad. the county health director began issuing cease and desist orders to the private utility company. needless to say, those students got a very high grade, in terms
of how they moved the needle. i think that kind of practical, learning is a key part of an effective civics regular. it is all -- civics curriculum. it is also important that in most cases you start local. as the students did with the water supply. i have a granddaughter who next week, is going to participate in a model united nations. i am a supporter of the united nations as an important global institution. i really think, students would be better served if they were going to spend a few days doing a model school board or a model city council or an activity that was more relevant to their current lives. those are some of the principles i think should be incorporated into a civics curriculum, which
should in turn, return to the american public school system. i think this is a critically important issue. we cannot go another generation them by failure to expose to the basic principles and competencies of citizenship in a democracy. the students from stonewall douglas r this morning, displaying what it means to society to have young people prepared to be not just passive spectators but active participants in making their community, school, state, their nation, a more democratic place for all citizens. thank you. [applause] thank you so much, senator.
we have time for one question for the senator and then we will bring up the panel talking about engagement in civics. exciting. can i? great. this gentleman, there is a microphone, state your name and maybe affiliation. and a question. thank you. >> i am with growing democracy. i loved what you said about the piano. tribe agree with lawrence and other scholars that we should lower the voting age so that people studying civics can participate in elections? sen. graham: i honestly don't have an opinion on whether moving the voting age from 18 to 16 for instance, would be advantageous. in the spirit of enhancing democracy, i would say, it wouldn't be a bad thing for maybe, some states to use the laboratory of democracy, which
states are supposed to do an experiment with that, and see what the results were and then we could make a judgment as to whether it appeared to be an idea worthy of nationwide adoption. >> again, thanks senator graham for your leadership. your civics lesson to us this morning. i will invite my colleague, catherine brown and the panel to come to the stage. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. [no audio] wonderful. thank you all so much for being with us this morning to discuss this important issue. my name is catherine brown, the vice president at the center for american progress. we will died in. -- we will dive right in.
i will give a short history of o.e panelists bi this is stephanie sanford, the chief of global policy at the college board. also the author of "the civic life in the information age." former director of policy and advocacy for the united states program of the bill and linda gates foundation. a deep expert in this topic. level setting, can you tell us about the difference between civics and history? >> thank you so much. it is wonderful to be here. this is an issue near and dear to my heart. theought the center -- senator did a good job delian aiding the difference. history is what happened before. civics is something that is active. the study of rights and duties and responsibilities to be an effective citizen in democracy.
panels, i've shared this a of times over the last year, the notion that we have knowledge. means you know what to do and you know about these institutions, you have skills, and you have agency. >> wonderful. there's been a fair amount of research on the focus and senator graham alluded to this, i focus on reading and math and going back to the 1970's that has pushed out civics and other topics, arts, music, physical education. i'm curious, stephanie, if you think we have a new opportunity with the every student succeeds act which creates a broader way to bring in back into american education today. >> i think so. the charge that is somewhat narrow, that has pushed out iter topics, i think that
clears that up. it clearly says, explicitly calls for a well-rounded education and calls out civics and government. quite specifically. also need to caution, the notion of pushback implies there was intent to do that. a goodator had articulation of the pressure that civics came under. the idea that in focusing on reading, when we redesigned the sat two years ago, a test of reading, writing and math, one of the things we did was to assure that of the 7 million students who will take the psat or the sat, you would encounter an american founding document or another document of great conversation. the idea that whether it is the constitution or the declaration or robert jordan's testimony
airing impeachment, the idea that a broad-based instrument you would encounter through reading, these texts, was important. , wasi think essa important, there is not anything that says you couldn't read these texts. ms. brown: excellent point. i want to turn to one nee -- i t to turn now to juanita. she currently manages curricular development and serves on the rhode island board. barrier we have heard, most educators want to remain neutral to politics in the classroom. in talking about current events and civics today, in a way that is all students experiences, cultures, identities and bodies can be very challenging.
i would love to hear how you dealt with this challenge in your classroom and how you advise other generation citizen teachers to deal with it to the curriculum you are developing? >> thank you and thank you for having me here. in my classroom one of the things i would do, was very interesting during the last election to the very neutral in the classroom, we did have many discussions in terms of what was going on, at the national level, i kept turning it back to what is going on in your local community. citizen, that was a natural thing to do. havephasize and try to students focus on hyper local issues, very similar to what senator graham was referring to with his version of the curriculum many years ago. exciting that that was happening at that time.
we do something similar. we just labeled it action civics. come back to, what is going on in the community and how does it affect you? once that happened, there is you could encounter -- their ears you could encounter talking about controversial issues lessened and diminished. there are times you're talking about things like police brutality. you need to have start conversations and a safe space for students to have them. it is difficult work to do. right now in my new role working we tryachers nationwide, to provide guidance for them to have those conversations. and, we are currently working on a revision to the curriculum. one of the top priorities is to ensure, we are looking at an equity frame market ensuring our lessons incorporate those elements to make sure all of our
students needs are being met. justevery student, not develop mental state or learning ability but any other type of diversity that we can consider. ms. brown: wonderful, thank you so much. i want to turn drew scott, the cofounder of generation citizen, where he has worked to expand action civics in school. a real need for students to become active participants in their democracy. can you tell me about generation in orderthe history, to give all students the agency that stephanie referred to? >> yes, thank you so much for having us and having this event. it is timely. it is gratifying to seeing so many folks talking about this. senator graham did a great job
telling us the problem and some of the solutions we think about cofounded helped generation citizen eight years ago, my own background, i grew up the son of a foreign service officer. i grew up in emerging democracies around the world. senator graham was talking about distinctions between emerg ing democracies. i got to observe in kenya in 2002. ecuador in 2005. run up elections in zimbabwe in 2008. i was motivated by the power and fragility of democracy. the power of what happens when people come together and the fragility is something that needs to be cultivated and intended in that concept. when i got back to the u.s., recognizing, this goes to the question, the extent to which the trope, carol will talk on this too, the trope of young people being disengaged is not true. they talk about the millennial
generation not being engaged. that is not true. what can beat your is not seeing politics and government as the way to effect change. true is notbe seeing politics and government as a way to effect change. not seeing them as relevant. it becomes an at check on step that it -- becomes an abstract concept that is not being taught. this is the piano and allergy. if you're -- the pno analogy. it will not be the vibrant citizenthat, generation does action civics. action before civics and this changes everything. it is the practicing, students choose very local issues they care about and learn about how local government works, taking action on those issues. is notschool class,
afterschool or extracurricular. they're taking this just like math, science, english. choosing issues like, affordable housing and gentrification in new york city, looking at specific laws that would provide affordable housing, tax incentives to landlords that provide affordable housing. these are 11th graders working on an issue like that. every studente, always wants to tackle cafeteria food. they always want to do that. we looked at a class that did that enter our curriculum we encourage them to go to the root cause. why does it exist? how can you think about systemic causes? they found, and a lot of restaurants they had a, b, c grades. new york schools have those grades but they were not required to be public.
they went to the state legislature. the right body to go to in this case. they successfully convinced them to pass a bill that now requires schools to publish sanitation grades. that doesn't necessarily mean that right away the cold pizza will be gourmet. what i got them to realize was, we care about cafeteria food in our school and we will learn about how the state legislature works, using that and making that relevant to our lives, expanding that so it is more relevant. that is how action civics works. very similar to the framework of senator graham. going in on local issues, how do we get civics and politics to be as exciting as when i studied emergency -- emerging democracies growing up? in responseg this to parkland, students are recognizing the relevance of democracy in there on lives. that is what needs to be turned. ms. brown: thank you so much.
i want to bring caroline into the conversation, ceo of rock the vote. this has focused on schools. better preparing students to be active citizens. it is the goal of education to challenge us, and prepare students for other live to be active students, participate in democracies. we have to look beyond schools and think about the continuum of how you engage young people. what have learned about youth engagement more broadly and specifically, how rock the boat is contributing to helping young people? >> thank you for having us. hope ifry timely, i anything has come out of the tragedy in parkland, that students are dis-abusing everyone in the country of something we know at rock the vote, that young people are engaged and knowledgeable. with agency and civic education
and with empowerment, that they actually will move things. the issue we see is, because of the state of civic education, a lot of young people when they turn 18 or get out of traditional institutions of higher education, they are not prepared at all and have inherited a broken system. excuse me. what we do at rock the vote, our mission is to build power for young people involving a lot of things. civic education is part of that. one of the pieces we have seen is, young people are questioning the power of their vote in a serious way. there seeing other avenues. you're seeing more protests in the streets, from black lives matter to gun violence, and a whole slew of different issues. one of the things i think civic education both in schools and out, can do a better job of,
really tying it to the issues. that impact our community. i think there is a very big disconnect when they are 18 years old, how do these issues impact my day-to-day life? if you can bring it down to the community level as a strategy and tactics, to get them engaged. showing themst of they can have an impact with their vote or approaching a state senator or representative or whoever the elected official is that move the issue, also educating them on the registration and voting process, quite frankly. that should be part of civics education. it is terribly confusing and different in every state and purposely so. those are some pieces we work to do. education and guiding people through the process. ms. brown: wonderful.
thank you so much. now i want to get into solutions. stephanieve to ask and scott, one of the things that has emerged in a number of states, a product i would encourage all to pick up, the state of civics education. my colleague sarah shapiro did a 50 state analogy of what the state of it is in every state. one of the policies is requiring students to take a citizenship test. i'm curious what your reaction is? will this get at the low participation rates we're seeing? we would love to hear any thoughts on that as a policy solution. that aink, the idea citizenship test, in preparation, i took it online this weekend. just to tell you how i spend my weekends. it is 100 questions. quite rudimentary. met, when i was in arizona before the holiday, i
met the state senator who saw that as a step one. one, it is step one. by no means the answer. assessment is simply a measure of knowledge. but the idea that, that this would be somehow too high a bar, to give you an example, a couple questions on the test. we elect u.s. representatives for how many years? who was the first president? who is president now? the test itself took 15 minutes. there was a series of questions as simple as this. a couple things. one, a terrible idea if that were the end. that if the idea of civic knowledge, you could answer 100 elementary school type questions. so, i think, having that as a step one, senator graham talked
about just how little civic knowledge there really is. that the idea that two thirds of americans cannot name the three branches of government. 75% can name all three stooges and at least one judge on american idol. maybe this is not a terrible place to start. scott: it is interesting. there is a distinction between policy and politics. i do think, this is a time that requires innovative policy solutions to the problem. so we can talk to some of them. that is important. i agree with stephanie, every american should be able to pass this test. i don't think that is a high bar. i don't know if i have a particularly strong personal opinion. the challenges, our schools
going to use that as step one or because it is becoming assessed, is that going to be the end game? that is the fear. to extend other analogies, you do not teach science just by teaching a test. the periodic table. it is important to know that, which is harder than the citizenship test. i don't know if that is step one but it is integrated into the overall teaching. after an saying, effective civics course you should be able to pass the test, that makes sense. are teacherss, going to see, this is another requirement, i have to teach this, therefore, not necessarily integrating everything else that makes a civics course effective? i think that is the fear.
we have been working on legislation in massachusetts where this has been integrated with everything else. me, ilone policy, it gets don't know how you would think about it if that was in your class. i did play around with it for a couple years. at the beginning of the semester, i had my generation citizen class and my social studies students take the test. we had teacher assistants and special educators in the classroom who took it along with us for fun, i guess. many of the adults did not pass. many of the students didn't pass it either. eighth graders. midterm, and at the end of the school year. i did see scores went up. did anyone pass it? i think a few people. a few students.
it was set aside. there was not the focus of the year. that said, i do not think it should be a graduation requirement. sets our bar low. a 15 minute test? that is low. showudents were able to their civic knowledge in different ways, talking about, reading a bill and pulling out the important parts of it and making suggestions as to how we could improve it. there is some way we can assess that and make this more, increasing the standards. our expectations, for our students. >> i was just going to say, building on that, there is the knowledge these we're talking about. there is knowledge needed. there also skills and civic
education. the liberation, collaboration, public speaking, writing, critical thinking. those are increasingly important when we're talking about more of what we are accessing is online. where we need to be able to teach kids to discern what is real, what is not. think about different issues, especially as we become more polarized. angeneration citizen is such excellent model. if you need to know things to be able to do things and apply them, know where you can find the information or where these decisions are made. i love the notion of the idea you have to practice. it is noncontroversial that you would have to practice piano. to get better at basketball. somehow we do not think of it in terms of education generally but particularly civic education. getting to know this model is
particularly, that focus on localism that says, here is a problem. how do i learn about the problem? how do i learn where it can be solved? the mechanisms of government? through that, learning, doing impact, closer to a community built a sense of agency. i suspect from your students, once you have done that, then you have the agency in the sense of, i can do more, i can recruit other people, more active in my community. that really animates a virtuous cycle of increased dissipation. scott: i would almost prefer a local citizenship test. i do agree. is youknow who the mayor will know who the president is. that is given. do you know which branch of government the chief of the police is in rather than do you know the three branches of government?
we were talking earlier about district attorneys and how that has galvanized people. do you understand what the district attorney does? what their office allows them to do? as opposed to what the judicial, legislative and all do? >> i love that idea of having a local citizenship test. oftentimes in my class, i would have a paper on the wall with the three branches but then under them we were not looking at federal. not often at state. where does the school board committee fit in? how do they end up in the school board committee? it is done differently in different communities. who are they? let's learn about these people that are making important decisions from cold pizza on friday to what am i wearing to where is the money going? ideahelps make this whole of government and democracy less
abstract and daunting and scary for students. at a very early age. my first generation citizen class was sixth-graders. they decided, they were upset about a lot of things. in the end, they realized they did not have a voice in our school. so they said, well, how about a student council? how about we become part of the government? they startedone, dealing with, what do we think of uniform policy? of food and contacting the actual folks that deal with food? definitely having the focus on local government, is so much more powerful, for our students in k-12. ms. brown: where do we start with this? this idea of finding out what
motivates students, connecting with their lives, building a curriculum around that? that is what i'm hearing. carolyn: me? catherine: yes. how do you tap into young people to get them engaged? carolyn: it is issue driven to in the idea they can have agency. usually you can see them more on the local level in the communities. one of the things we focused on in 2017 was municipal elections. we provide an election center that breaks down what offices actually do, what the responsibilities are, who is running for them, we have links to their websites and social media. .e did that in 2016 as well in 2016 we had 4 million users access information. in 2017 it was lower than that. we also teamed up with local
groups to develop voter guides based on the issues that were impacting their community. young people were designing questions and then contacting candidates and getting those answers. we would post to our website print because our name was associated with it the candidates were more responsive to them. doone of the things that we well, there is always room for at generation citizen is creating a democratic classroom culture, ensuring that our curriculum and the space it is taught in is student centered and student driven, because it is action-based, project-based learning. ensuring it has a -- the confidence, the vocabulary by
the activity to look at the different issues. we start at creating a question classroom constitution. we emphasize it is a living document. there are points that we are in a classroom with 28 kids. it is not all going to be lovely all the time and roses. let's stop and go back to the constitution. wet are we doing well, do need to make edits? let's remind ourselves of how we are supposed to be working, and moving forward, creating that accountability for students and ownership and what they are doing comes from consensus building, which i think we do a nice job of. a fun activity that turns into a lively debate, students sharing their he personal feelings -- topicsrsonal feelings on
, deciding on topics they are going to focus on you need some class by end -- buy in. even when you do not have 100% of students excited about that issue, we focus on tapping into everyone's skills. are you really good at writing? how do you -- are you an extrovert? call and next to revert on the a representative on the phone. we have research components that help with that,too. space student centered for everyone to be able to participate at some level during the semester make it a very powerful program. catherine: all right.
the policy level, if you could design the perfect set of interventions, i am curious, as a state policy maker, what would you put in place? would you add things on top? you are aware of the different mandates and challenges that schools are trying to accomplish these days. stefanie: the campaign for the civic mission of schools has a policy agenda out. i would highly recommend that. teachks set how do you civics? how'd you give meaningful responsibilities? how do you engage the community? how do you have within school activities that develop agency? i think policies are pretty blunt instruments for this. just even, we are people who agree here, there is a lot of vitality and imagination. i think i would look at the
campaign for the civic schools that are making real progress. abouto have some humility muscular -- too muscular about policy now. we are in a moment, whether it , thee events in florida increased participation, the innovation within classrooms, renewed interest in civic action, rather than trying to set baselines and allow for a lot of experimentation and variation. scott: i agree with all that. we actually, along with a broad a policy, are seeing proposal in massachusetts
building on what has been done in florida, illinois. it is a pretty robust policy. the way this came about was talking to folks like ice civics, started by sandra day o'connor. platformoss -- a cross organization. looking as graduation requirements, student should take some sort of civic project before they graduate. it will increase funding for teachers to engage in this professional development because that does not happen now, and launch a spelling bee for civics in massachusetts to get students thinking about this. it will be interesting. it is trying to be one of the more robust policies out there and the massachusetts legislature has made this a priority. it will be interesting to see
what happens. there is anink opportunity beyond state-level seen illinoisve and florida specifically engaged in some interesting work largely around funding and assessment. i think those are two of the lever points. we always talk about schools as having a historical civic mission, a historical civic purpose, but we don't talk about what that means. i am curious, if there is a way to almost incorporate democracy in educating young people to be citizens as more of a framework for schools. are important. i think it is also relatively insufficient. one class and eighth-grade is not enough. i don't think any of us think that it is enough. the way the started thinking about it, how can schools really embrace classes that are relevant, a culture that is
democratic, and they engage with the community? in science class they are measuring the ph waters of levels to find out if they are safe. they are writing letters to the editor in english class. they're looking at traffic patterns and figuring out if there is a way to solve that by the school. holistically, it both of those have to happen at the same time. >> i like how you said that. the school i was teaching at began this year focusing on a civic strand in the school. trying to do some of what scott has just mentioned. i'm excited to see what that is going to look like and if other schools are working towards them. i can see how that would be a great way to approach this. catherine: are there information
sharing networks between states? do you feel there has been a surge in this issue and people are talking? thesee probably a lot of -- part of a lot of these conversations. >> there is a lot of interest in it. i don't know if there is a great infrastructure yet to share best practices or have states collaborate. among theu have seen service groups, national service their service year idea. we have had conversations with them. if we believed that you need knowledge skills and agencies, can we bring the knowledge people together? how can you then have these be authentic experiences? i love scott's perspective to work on real-world problems. young people like to do that. i am the -- debbie meyer's a
young people need to come into contact with a range of adults they can see themselves becoming. the notion of high school in particular has become insular. implicit in what each of us are talking about, some way to better engage young people in problems of their communities. -- two a way to build tie that experience and build that sense of agency that they should be engaged in problem solving. you mentioned core to the knowledge piece is the information you are getting is accurate and you can discern fact and fiction from opinion. we have seen a prevalence of fake news. this is a challenge young people are facing with a wealth of young -- wealth of information around the internet. how does civics education help solve that problem if at all? juanita: toscott: media literacy has
be a part of civics education and figuring out how you distill the real news from fake news that might not be as accurate. focusing on the local is important. get the majority of their news from facebook. that is a fact that is happening. there is more news literacy that needs to happen. i also think, not to badger on, but the companies and social media networks need to do a , and recognize their responsibility. just saying this is an open marketplace, it is going to put too much pressure on educators and young people themselves to be able to distill that. both of those have to happen at the same time. i have not thought about it in this light, but as a civic some of thoseting
folks so they actually see it as part of their mission. if you have 60, 70% of young people get their news from facebook come of they have an obligation to help distill that. catherine: you have done a lot of work and digital literacy. any reflection on this? scott,: i don't -- like i hope the social media platform's take responsibility and do what is right but i also think the action civics model of creating and helping students build critical thinking skills and deliberating and figuring out what is opinion and what is fact and fake are important. one thing we have not discussed but can come into that is the support that we need to provide thaters who take on things may seem more political or may be political.
i think that is a real challenge teachers are facing and need to beef up the districts to support them. in terms of digital, it is something that is not going away and needs to be addressed. there are great groups doing research on this. it needs to be part of civic education. catherine: we do not have a ton of time left. i want to do a quick round robin. you touched on this in terms of supporting teachers. any advice you have for policymakers as they are thinking about these issues? does anyone want to start? carolyn: i have one piece that we have not addressed and we all work in deeply but is not part of the conversation a lot, inequity in civic education. to -- a quarter of people pass the civic assessment but wealthy white students were
more likely than black and hispanic students to be considered proficient. that needs to be part of the conversation if we are having these resources go to the places that are needed and have equity. catherine: thank you for underscoring that. juanita: we also know black, brown students, students and low income areas, the urban areas don't -- have never had and will debate,ve experiencing a classroom debate, mock trials come any of these wonderful things that we know create critical thinkers. or help create critical thinkers. in terms of supporting a teacher , i know i took on a lot more than i could handle a lot of times, trying to make sure my students had access to and were exposed to as much as possible
during that time they were with me. i wish i could have done more. that is a struggle. if you're a teacher you are here for a reason. you mean well, and you want to do the best, but we often simply do not have the capacity to do it. is criticalt for us in order to keep moving civic education into what we want it to look like, to ensure that we do have future active citizens. catherine: such an important point. scott: the last thing, ensuring that we are listening to the students and student voices are omnipresent in these conversations. ensuring that we are listening to them when we are talking about literacy. i don't even know the lat forms
they are engaging on these days. actually listening to them and sing with a engage on is important. .t goes back to last week i think what has been so powerful about the students from florida, they have made themselves seen as legitimate actors. specific knowledge on this and their passion my this is what i have believed in the power of young people, to see the world for what it can be rather than what it is. we get in these gun control debates, there is this sense of stagnation. they are not saying this like that right now. likeey are not seeing this that right now. making sure we are not talking about civic education being done to people, but working with them to co-construct the democracy we want rather than the one we have today. catherine: final thoughts?
stefanie: the theme of listening. a number of us were at the new um.n in september -- newse one of the highlights was just a sotomayor -- justice sotomayor. she had taken over the board of civics. she gave a wonderful talk about civic education, and she walked through the crowd and took questions one-on-one. moment, there were young people there. i want to say we need to listen to the young people, but we also need to listen to each other. there was a young undergraduate seething in response. -- how canw can you you talk about all of this free speech when so many people are
just so wrong? what do i do? that is what happened. the adults were like, ok. she put her hand on that young woman's shoulder and said listen. i do think as we consider knowledge, agency, voice, protest the flip side of that is yes, we listen to young people, but we also listen to each other. end.rine: great way to we would love to take your questions. if you could raise your name and -- fraser hand and state your and and the organization -- raise your hand and state your name and the organization you are a part of. >> i am a teacher 40 years in d.c. i was at one of the schools involved in the brown case.
i was excited, telling my sixth-graders about the case. a tommy they were not interested. -- they told me they were not interested. they complained every day about no library, no books. i said this is a chance for you to talk to the people who can make a difference. they said what are they celebrating? a are celebrating this? fromve the same books 1953. the kids went before the city council and share their thoughts. i asked them to write their councilmember. we will go before the council. they did. they said can the kids come down case?k about the bowling they thought they were going to come to regurgitate the facts. they came and talk about the deplorable condition of their school 50 years after brown.
sitting in that meeting with senator brown and nancy pelosi, as a result the school, which was slated for demolition was restored, modernized and is now sitting there in ward seven of d.c. the students, after that project, taking information they learned in class and using it to solve a real world problem for them in power them to believe they could do anything else, and they did. they organized pta. i learned from them that applying, teaching them how to apply the knowledge and knowing i cannot remain neutral in my classroom no matter how hard i tried was going to be the key, and allowing them to cite the problems in their school and community, use the lessons i teach them to apply to solve those problems. i do appreciate the message he brought this morning, because we have lost contact with the need
for civic engagement. civics in our schools, every school, especially in these times. thank you. scott: thank you. catherine: gentlemen in the second row. >> i have to agree with all that. physician.ed army with maybe one exception 50 years ago, i have never missed a vote. voters that can vote but don't most of the people you are talking about art old enough to vote. citizenput responsibility at the center with big learning -- book learning education at one side. toggle about -- we talk a lot about doing things. how do you instill the want to vote? the main result we have our
government now is the most 40% of people eligible did not bow the 2016 elections. that is why i would theonsibility front, to people who did not vote on either side. catherine: go ahead. scott: the one thing i wanted to say on that from an education perspective, we have gotten to individualized in education writ large. we lose the collaborative spirit that is necessary for individual responsibility. perspective,cation we try to create that, like we're in this together, our success is dependent on all of our success. >> collective success is one of the mantras we tried to push forward. things have changed a lot and 50 years.
difficult to say to a young person to particularly a young person of color, it is your responsibility to vote when the system doesn't work for you. we have to face that reality because this millennial generation, generation x is more diverse than older generations. the motivation, the persuasion to tell them that voting matters is different and it has changed over the years. in addition to that you have civic education going down. our system is much more complex, especially when you talk about registering to vote, next lead voting for young people. when you talk voter id laws that are systematically made so people cannot participate. particularly young people of color. say it is your responsibility, get over it and
participate in a system that you are inheriting that is already broken. that i thinkng and 2016, quite honestly, people made the argument even harder. you saw in the primary. young people overwhelmingly voted for bernie. he did not win in the primary. then you so young people overwhelmingly vote for hillary and she didn't win. having that sense of i can make a difference, i'm going to vote and keep voting even when you feel like you can make a difference is hard to get over. >> i also wonder if -- i don't think this is something we have done. tracking the students that actually engage in action civics school career.oo
theyeeing whether or not are feeling more responsible, and showing up to vote. i wonder if there is a connection. i would imagine so. there are certain cases that i still keep in contact with that are more aware of what is going on and are more apt to take action on things, whether small or a larger scale. i wonder if there could be a connection to that as well. carolyn: there are a group of behavioral scientists that studied why they are less like the to vote. it is not just that they are young. they are new voters. without civic education and any sort of education of how to participate, with increased barriers, they overestimate the
process, they feel very uncertain about how the process actually works, if they actually theyake an impact, and estimate -- underestimate their political intelligence and knowledge, and think in some ways people might say it is responsible. that they don't have the expertise to participate. that is something. we actually at rock the vote did -- we analyzed each state and assigned them a report card of andthey do with voting laws election policy and which states promote young people voting, and which don't. it is really sad. stefanie: the question of research is a good one. what are the things -- if the most basic responsibility is to the, do these kinds of -- government course, the service
project, do any of those actually impact? i think that is a terrific research agenda. scott: the last thing i want to say on that, i do think the of 2016 is something worth looking at specially and local elections. that is something where you are schools -- they have lowered the voting age. there is a bill in washington dc, we worked on a bill in san francisco that would do that. talk about research. countries around the world do this. not only for young people but adults in general. if you are able to get young people to vote while you are people inchool, where the aggregate are participating, it would enhance and inspire more civics education. i think that is something worth
thinking about that would enhance of his education as well. is also freee registration of 16 and 17-year-olds. catherine: they are good ideas. i will never forget the first am i voted. that has an impact. we have time for one question. the young man in the back. >> hello. my name is alexander hutton. no affiliations, recent graduate of political science. there is a lot of talk within this q&a about voting, and how it is the most basic civic fundamental right. short of doing something like australia, mandatory, the statistics don't affirm voting actually matters. you have a one in 60 million chance in being an influential vote. you have a one in 2 million chance in being an influential vote in a statewide election.
even just to bring this further, a recent school board election in my hometown of 1200, not even a single vote would have influenced that. how do you tie these ideas together when you look at the statistics and they say, voting is jump -- something you should partake in, but how do you continue to make your argument? >> al gore and hillary clinton might disagree with that assessment. this is the challenge you have to overcome. i think a couple of things. this is where local elections actually are really important. ,here are fewer people voting and you can make a difference with fewer votes. i would also say virginia, the legislature, i don't know if you saw that, obviously i think you all did. one vote. f you broke down the votes
in states like michigan, pennsylvania, for the presidential election in 2016 and broke them down by producing, it comes down to a few votesi think we have to do r job of showing people how their one-vote matters, but it does certainly matter. >> i haven't seen this in the presidential election. we did a random when you exit 10 -- happened -- when brexit happened. if young people voted of the would notte, brexit have passed. there is an ability to actually change things. the virginia legislature is in the hands of republicans because of one-vote. really want to thank generation citizen and scott and one need to for putting that --
>> tonight at 8:00 on c-span. former housing and urban development secretary had an event organized by the young democrats of new hampshire. he talks about the party agenda. it is clear that when it comes to ensuring that you and your families can prosper, this administration and congress don't have a clue. but we get it. democrats do get it. we have always known what we stand for. number one is expanding opportunity to everybody. that was the idea behind fdr and
the g.i. bill. it was what motivated my fellow texan, president lyndon b. johnson, with medicare and medicaid. it was the reason that barack obama had the affordable care act passed into law so that more americans could see health-care coverage. [applause] >> mr. castro's a former mayor of san antonio, texas and is considering running for president in 2020. you can watch the entire program tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the conservative political action conference starts its three-day meeting tomorrow with vice president pence, white house counsel don mcgann, senator ted cruz, education secretary betsy devos and labor secretary.
live coverage begins on c-span at 10:35 a.m. eastern. on friday, president trump speaks at cpac along with kellyanne conway, sba administrator linda mcmahon and fcc chair ajit pai. day,nday on c-span's q and do -- q and a. ,- talks about her memoir reflecting on being diagnosed with stage four: cancer at the nge of 35 -- stage four colo cancer. >> i felt people pouring in. all the intense prayers. the second i got sick, my whole community got together and prayed like marathon runners for me throughout my whole surgery.
reflecting back to me love and a wase of my hope is that i having to make preparations, that someone or something must be there and i felt that way. sunday that it caught eastern on c-span. 8:00 eastern on c-span. up next, a preview of the second season of landmark cases. it is part of human stories behind the supreme court's historic rulings.
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