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While this research highlights that no state currently provides sufficient and comprehensive civic education, there is reason to be optimistic that high-quality civics education can impact civic behavior. While models for civic education vary widely, innovative programs designed by states, nonprofits, and schools have chosen new ways to promote civics education and increase youth community engagement.

While most states require a half-year of civics education, Colorado and Idaho designed detailed curricula that are taught throughout yearlong courses.

3 Ways to Improve Civics Education

The Colorado Department of Education also provides content, guiding questions, key skills, and vocabulary as guidance for teachers. In addition, Colorado teachers help civics come alive in the classroom through the Judicially Speaking program , which was started by three local judges to teach students how judges think through civics as they make decisions. With the assistance of more than judges and teachers, the program was integrated into the social studies curriculum statewide.

Idaho has focused on introducing civics education in its schools at an early age. The state integrates a civics standard into every social studies class from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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While Idaho does require a civics exam to graduate from high school, students have already had experience with the material through a mandatory civics course and are permitted to take the test until they pass. At the end of the school year, 90 percent of students self-reported that they believed they could make a difference in their community. Teaching Tolerance, an initiative through the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides free materials to emphasize social justice in existing school curricula.

The website, for example, provides teachers with student tasks for applying civics in real-world situations and with civics lesson plans on American rights and responsibilities; giving back to the community; and examining historical contexts of justice and inequality.

Why we need civic education? - Usama Khilji - TEDxLahore

Teaching Tolerance also funds school-level, classroom-level, and district-level projects that engage in youth development and encourage civics in action. Congress, and the federal courts. In ninth and 10th grades, Cesar Chavez students also complete a long-term community action project, where they use their personal interests to conduct research and address a public policy issue. She was the author of numerous textbooks and professional articles. Tahoma placed ninth in the recent We the People National Finals.

What does civics education look like in America?

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  • The Center's Network Our network of state and district coordinators supports We the People by conducting local teacher professional development, holding conferences, and organizing local and state hearings.