Civics is not just the name of a high school class with a quick overview of the three branches of government and a light dusting of American history.
The word “civic” means something related to being a citizen of a town, city or nation. Civics classes ought to be the study of what it means to be a good citizen in society. Being a citizen entitles you to certain rights, but it also expects certain obligations.
If we are the shapers of the society we want, we must define our expectations of what a good civic participation ought to look like.
Restore Civic Education
A well-thought-out society would then create opportunities for people to experience civic participation to further enhance the skills needed for this participation to be beneficial to the overall community and encourage future participation.
Like so much of what is discussed in the Democracy section, most of our civics education for young adults was deconstructed in the 1970s and 1980s. We have wonderful civic groups that do their best to create civic education, but they scramble for funding.
If a goal is to help people become good citizens that can contribute to the betterment of society, we need to help them develop their understanding and skills. Restoring civics in K-12 education and making it more robust would be key.
Then, we need to put our heads together to figure out how to teach all of the adults too.
Promote Civic Service
Training is essential, but creating pathways to participation is crucial. How can we create more pathways and make service to the community a social norm?
In other topics, we covered onramps like Participatory Budgeting and Citizen Assemblies that give people the experience of being included in Democracy.
Here are some other ideas to explore:
- A year of civic service after graduating
- Leadership Training (See Topic in Local)
- Creating Inclusive Community Gatherings (See Topic in Local)
- Social norms of discussing politics as politics should be about our collective public life
- Encouraging attendance in local council meetings
- Joining civic groups
- Encouraging people to run for local elected positions
- Citizen University
- Generation Citizen
- We The People
- Service Year Alliance
- Serve America Together
- Cool Blocks
Run For Office Trainings
Run for Something