Civic Engagement

Try It

Most agree that an important purpose of school is preparing students to be informed, responsible citizens. These two videos encourage students to take an active role in our democratic processes by registering to vote, voting, and organizing campaigns to get others involved.

Discuss It

  • How active are your current students and recent graduates in democracy?  If you don’t know, should you try to find out?
  • Some 2/3rds of adults in America can’t name the three branches of government. What does that tell us? Do your students understand how our democracy functions? How can you be sure?
  • How democratic is your school? Do students have real voice in important decisions? Do they ever draw up a ‘constitution’ to lay out the ground rules for the functioning of a club or sports team?
  • How important is it for us to take an active role in ensuring our elected officials give education the priority it deserves? How hard are we willing to fight for the future of our schools and our children?

Go Deeper

The connection between education and democracy has deep roots going back to Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, and Alexis de Tocqueville. This is fertile ground for deep student exploration.  
An ideal area for student focus is your local school board. With their unique perspectives on education policies, students can research policies of the local school board, and present recommendations. If students mobilize to affect outcomes in local elections, they’ll see first hand that they can shape the future of our democracy. Just marvel at the powerful impact of these Florida students.