State Eyes More Civics Participation for Students [Chalkbeat]

Originally published in Chalkbeat on January 29, 2020.

Generation Citizen, which creates teaching models that schools can use to set up action-focused civics classes, estimated it would cost $10.8 million annually to create action civics courses across the state. 

The state Board of Regents largely lauded the task force’s work last month, signaling they would likely accept those recommendations, which still could be revised as the state solicits public comment on the proposals.

There’s “increased energy” around making sure students understand and know how to participate in government, said Sen. Shelley Mayer, a Yonkers Democrat, who chairs the Senate’s education committee. She sponsored a bill to encourage more high school students to register to vote, and another to create student governments in schools where they don’t exist. 

“My personal experience is that students are not being taught adequately about government,” Mayer said. “They do not know, including seniors in high school — including seniors in advanced classes — what’s the difference between a state senator and a U.S. senator. We dropped the ball for a good number of years here.”

The task force is not calling for the state to require classes around capstone projects, or asking to replace any courses with it. So, the immediate impact of its recommendations, if adopted, might not be significant.