Seattle Teachers Fight for Strengthened Civics Education to Mitigate ‘Institutionalized Disenfranchisement”
A group of Seattle teachers will be meeting next month to create new lessons to provide the city’s public school students with a better civics education. The teachers have long hoped for a solution to ensure that the district’s students will grow into informed citizens.
“In May, 30 Seattle teachers will meet at the King County Elections Office to begin designing new lessons aimed at introducing students to the power of representative democracy and ‘why their voices are critical,’ as Kathleen Vasquez, the district’s manager for literacy and social studies, put it,” according to The Seattle Times.
History teacher Web Hutchins has been fighting for a strengthened civics education program in the district for years and hopes that this will be Seattle’s chance to serve as a model for districts across the country.
Providing students with a shoddy civics education, Hutchins says, promotes “institutionalized disenfranchisement” by denying future voters their understanding of why participating in democracy matters.
Hutchins K-12 initiative, Civics for All, requires that students are engaged with annual mock elections, take at least three classroom based assessments each year, and learn media literacy as it relates to electoral politics and current events. The proposal also asks that at least two professional development days be dedicated to providing teachers with common instructional language in framework for teaching civics education.
The Seattle district is currently ramping up to provide this kind of intensive curriculum.
“The new lessons, including voter pamphlets translated into kid-friendly language, will be used in mock elections to be held this fall in any Seattle school willing to participate. Vasquez said the curriculum will likely expand to include media literacy in coming years,” according to The Seattle Times.
Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor