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“There’s a lot of evidence that talking about current events in class is very beneficial to students… for building their knowledge and their interest in issues, and it creates habits that lead to greater civic participation throughout their lives,” says Peter Levine in an Education Week article by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo.
Levine is director of the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), whose Web site is www.civicyouth.org. The non-partisan, nonprofit center at the University of Maryland studies civic and political participation among American youths and young adults.
“Beyond the educational benefits,” continues Levine, “here’s an opportunity for citizens who happen to be young to reflect together [in the classroom] in mixed groups on election events and the issues candidates are talking about.”
CIRCLE has been conducting an ongoing evaluation of Kids Voting USA (www.kidsvotingusa.org), a civic education program that provides classroom activities and mock-voting events for students in grades K-12.
Partnerships with schools, election officials and businesses can be set up to help students understand the “obligations that come with ownership of our representative republic,” says Jack Barse, executive director of Kids Voting USA.
Go to the site to find information on state and local affiliates for a program that provides curriculum and mock-election events designed to engage students in the democratic process.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Classroom Fact Check can be found at www.factchecked.org . This site offers materials to teach students to “see through the spin” of the presidential elections, and includes lessons to analyze political advertisements and claims made by candidates.
CNN’s Election Center 2008 features maps, summaries of the key issues, tallies of campaign contributions, blogs and podcasts, as well as video coverage. Find it at www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/ .
Project Vote Smart Volunteers young and old, liberal and conservative, make this much praised, “historic” project happen. Find candidate’s biographical information, voting records, issue positions, Interest Group ratings, public statements and financial info. Volunteer to research yourself! http://www.votesmart.org/.
source: Education Week online at www.edweek.org. Article by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo on 1/23/08; and Project Vote Smart Web site.
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