Welcome to our nation’s first-ever Civic Learning Week. From March 6-10, teachers, researchers, students, and citizens across the United States are reflecting on innovative ways to strengthen civics education. This week comes not a moment too soon: Threats to democracy in the United States and around the globe are rising, which underscores the importance of preparing young people for the rights and responsibilities of democratic self-government.
This inaugural nationwide celebration of civic education involves advocates and organizations around the country. Throughout the week, both virtual and in-person events will highlight the importance of civic education in strengthening our democracy. We hope you will check out the national schedule of events and join in when and where you can!
As our state’s pre-eminent democracy-building organization, Civic Nebraska is proud to join this movement as an official State Ambassador for Nebraska. As the week kicks off, we’re grateful that the City of Lincoln has issued a proclamation in support of the occasion. The proclamation also recognizes the exhibition American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith currently on display at the Nebraska History Museum (go see it if you haven’t yet).
Did you know that Civic Nebraska serves hundreds of K-12 students every day, in a variety of ways? Among them:
›› Our before- and after-school programs emphasize civic learning so students develop the skills of self-governance – understanding individual rights as well as the common good; practicing critical thinking and civil discourse; engaging across differences; and building agency through reflection and participation. Our six school-based Community Learning Centers enrich and supplement classroom learning on the journey to becoming stronger, more engaged citizens.
›› For middle- and high schoolers, we regularly host Capitol Experience Days – a daylong field trip to the Nebraska State Capitol that is a lot more than a field trip. “Cap Days” immerse students in Nebraska state government, getting them access to current members of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches before taking part in a mock committee hearing on a real-life legislative bill. It’s a transformative day for students, who come away with a deeper understanding of Nebraska’s unique government systems as well as inspiration to be the change they seek in their communities. Classes that might not be able to make it to Lincoln often take part in our Virtual Capitol Experience.
›› For instructors and students who are seeking deeper engagement in their communities, we coordinate Civic Circles in Omaha and the Service Learning Center of Excellence for schools in Greater Nebraska.
›› Civic Nebraska provides Nebraska educators with a series of high-quality educational and service-learning resources. All of our curricula and materials follow state standards and are replicable for use in any setting, and are based on the four widely recognized indicators of civic health: community engagement, political involvement, social connection, and confidence in institutions. Best of all, they’re free!