Municipal Policies on Youth Civic Education
Citizens Union is a non-partisan and good governance nonprofit that advocates for accessibility and accountability in New York City and New York State government, including providing strong support for increasing voter turnout and civic empowerment. Citizens Union’s support for civic empowerment extends to educating New York’s next generation of voters. In 2018, the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) launched Civics for All (CFA), a K-12 civic education program, with the intention of achieving more widespread implementation in the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.
This Capstone identified best practices for implementation of civic education initiatives through in-depth interviews with civics experts and case study comparisons of civics programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Seattle, and Florida. These locations have implemented wide-reaching civics programs and have student populations that mirror the ethnic and economic diversity of NYC’s student body. Synthesizing findings from these case studies and academic research and taking into account the consequences of COVID-19, the report presented a series of recommendations that Citizens Union can employ to support CFA through a combination of advocacy, funding, and coalition building. Among the recommendations is to encourage the professional development of all civics teachers and to take robust measures to evaluate program quality and track future civic engagement. CFA is already a well-developed program created with teachers’ and students’ needs in mind. The recommendations presented are intended to offer Citizens Union and the civic education ecosystem insight on how they can complement the momentum CFA has made and support the program’s success going forward.