GENERATION CITIZEN TO EXPAND CIVICS EDUCATION IN CENTRAL TEXAS
Action Civics programming to begin in Austin-area schools in January.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — On Wednesday, November 9th, Generation Citizen hosted its launch event for its new site in Central Texas. Joined by Mayor Steve Adler, local officials, teachers, college students, and philanthropists, nearly 75 supporters from the community convened the night after the election in support of the action civics education program launching in classrooms January 2017.
Generation Citizen, a national organization that provides action civics education, plans to run the semester-long curriculum in 15 classrooms in the Austin metro, including schools in AISD and Bastrop, in the coming spring semester. College volunteers are paired with secondary school teachers to teach the curriculum and relationships are in development with the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University and Huston-Tillotson University to establish the volunteer pipeline. The organization is also working to establish a Local Advisory Board and raise $100,000 to sustain the program beyond its pilot year.
Mayor Steve Adler attended and spoke at Wednesday’s event. In his remarks, he emphasized the importance of civic engagement in Austin, citing the success of Twitter participation at City Council meetings and the ongoing support of the community that led to the approval of the recent transportation bond. Mayor Adler was glad to see more voices in Central Texas advocating for engagement at the local level.
“This city and this region are rapidly changing,” said Meredith Norris, Site Manager of Generation Citizen Central Texas and native of Austin. Meredith is a former Generation Citizen teacher who decided to bring this curriculum to her hometown. “Bringing Generation Citizen to local classrooms will give more young people a chance to be invested in the decisions that are being made about their communities and their futures. The support of the Mayor’s office, the City of Austin, as well as AISD, have shown me that our local officials want more young voices at the table.”
Generation Citizen’s Local Board Chair, Larry Schooler, added, “One of the best ways for us to have the democracy we want is to plant seeds with young adults and teach them the language of active citizenship. Austin has a great reputation for engagement, and I am thrilled we have this great opportunity to partner with a wonderful organization to improve our civic health and help Texans of all ages get more deeply and meaningfully engaged in civic life.”
The Generation Citizen curriculum aims to ensure that students receive an effective, action-oriented civics education that promotes long-term civic engagement and builds collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills that students will need throughout their lives. In 2014-2015, after completion of the semester-long program, 90% of student participants reported they believed they could make a difference in their communities; and according to teachers, 72% of GC students increased their civic skills.
The successful launch of Generation Citizen’s action civics program in Central Texas has demonstrated that our youth have a critical role in passionate and responsible civic participation. To learn more, visit generationcitizen.org.