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Today, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution I sponsored in support of an initiative called Civics for All.
The Resolution calls for an increase in civics education for students—the study of the rights and duties of citizenship and the relationships among citizens and with their government. In a unique coordinated effort, the King County Council has voted in support of the initiative as well.
The Civics for All initiative proposes a set of tenets to help students in Seattle Schools learn about civic life and to suggest ways that civics could be integrated across the curriculum. The tenets include:
- Voting and elections, with mock elections in each school each year;
- Civics classroom-based assessments, with at least three civics assessments each year for each grade level; and,
- Media literacy education to help students learn about electoral politics and current events.
I particularly look forward to seeing the initiative’s goal of increasing civic engagement among Seattle youth realized through mock elections held in schools. Seattle Public Schools has committed to notifying principals of the Initiative; offer the opportunity for schools to place posters promoting the Initiative; and it will encourage school-wide voting.
The Office of the Secretary of State has offered to work with King County Elections to arrange King County student participation in mock elections. In 2012, 40,000 student voters cast ballots in Office of the Secretary of State’s Mock Election program.
Experts consider Civics for All crucial to empowering new generations to become active, critical thinkers in our democracy. According to Tufts University, civic education is good for young people’s academic success and prospects on the job market; Only 2% of Seattle’s non-college-educated adults have any kind of civic leadership role, meaning that their voice is missing in the city’s neighborhoods. Seattle’s high school students who are not on a path to college need more education and encouragement to participate in civic life.
The Civics for All Initiative, which was developed by Seattle schoolteacher Web Hutchins, has been vetted by experts from the University of Washington, Seattle University, Stanford University, and the Center for Civics Education.
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