David Snyder

Whole Child Blogwatch: Is civics "the most boring word in America"?

As part of an initiative to promote civics in K-12 schools, actor Richard Dreyfuss is ... eschewing the word civics? "Call it what it is: political power," says Dreyfuss, according to the Core Knowledge Blog. Dreyfuss developed the idea as part of his recent studies at Oxford University and is clearly passionate about the subject. The blog asks, "Could a little Hollywood star power help further the cause of teaching history and civics?"

We believe civics—er, "political power"—is a vital part of a curriculum that challenges students and prepares them to be engaged citizens. Despite promising signs—according to a recent Pew report, voter participation among young people 18–29 was higher in 2008 than in 2004, 51.1% versus 49.0%—it can be difficult to keep young people engaged, especially in years without historic national elections dominating the news. We're curious to hear what is working in your schools and communities to engage students in this critical topic.

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