Getting Students to
“We the People”
Looking for some great resources to teach
students about how citizens participate
in a democracy? The Center for Civic
Education ( www.civiced.org) provides materials that not only
bring historic moments alive but also enable students to experience civic involvement themselves. Here’s what you’ll find:
Engaging multimedia resources ( http://new.civiced.org/
resources/multimedia). A series of podcasts offer lessons on
citizenship throughout history; stories of students participating in local public policymaking; and interviews with
firsthand participants in important civic events, such as Janice
Kelsey, who describes taking part in the 1963 Children’s
March against segregation.
The center’s “We the People” curriculum. This curriculum
helps students understand how America’s constitutional
democracy operates. A limited number of classroom sets of
the related textbook (with a version for upper elementary,
middle school, and high school) as well as sample lessons and
primary sources are available free.
Civics-related units. Lesson plans address such questions
as, Why do we need authority? and What are the consequences of privacy? The curriculum “Citizens, Not Spectators”
takes students through registering and voting in a simulated
Numbers of Note
46 The percentage of U.S. young
adults surveyed who say they have
the education necessary to get
ahead in their job or career.
49 The percentage of U.S. young
adults surveyed who have taken a job
they didn’t want just to pay the bills.
24 The percentage of U.S. young
adults surveyed who have moved
back in with their parents after living
on their own.
Source: Pew Research Center. (2012). Young,
underemployed, and optimistic: Coming of
age, slowly, in a tough economy. Washington,
DC: Author. Administered in December 2011,
the survey involved 808 young adults (ages
18 to 34).
Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course
in Getting His Kid into College
by Andrew Ferguson (Simon and
Does the competition to get into a top
college pressure high school students
to build an impressive résumé instead
of exploring their passions? Why does
college cost so much, and is it still a worthwhile investment?
In this humorous firsthand account of the “surreal rituals” of
the college application process, Andrew Ferguson not only
speaks to parents of high school seniors, but also sheds light
on the values and assumptions that shape the way we guide
young people into their postsecondary paths.
“You’ll hear that the SAT can wreck a person’s future, even if only temporarily, or salvage a bright future from a misspent past.
The SAT can enforce class hierarchies or break them open; it
unfairly allocates society’s spoils and sorts the population into haves
and have-nots, or it can unearth intellectual gifts that our nation’s
atrocious high schools have managed to keep buried. It is a tool
of understanding, a cynical hoax, a triumph of social science, a
jackboot on the neck of the disadvantaged. Rarely, however, is it just
a test.”(pp. 76–77)
“It’s hard to imagine how a deep-seated ignorance of our fellow citizens and their priorities could lead us to fair and respectful decisions about the shape of our public life together.” —Robert Kunzman, p. 44