Chief Justice’s Power of Democracy Civic Learning Initiative
I think civics helps you understand the world around you. It also helps you understand how decisions are made so that you don’t feel that you aren’t being considered. Civics gives you an option to participate. We wanted to create citizens who knew the route to take to do something about an issue that they see. Instead of being part of the problem, they are now part of the solution. That is the key for us. It’s very important to have civics as part of the curriculum because you can’t go out a high school not knowing not knowing how to be a citizen. That’s what civics teaches you. Teaches you how to be a citizen, what citizens do, what citizenship is all about. That’s been some of the best part of civics. The energy and the excitement of the children and it’s been from fifth grade, second grade to high school. So I’ve had students come up to me seniors who say you know ‘English is a second language for me and a year ago I was thinking about dropping out, but I entered a civics program that you have supported and I get to meet my other students, work in the community and now you know what I’m going to graduate I have good grades I’m going to go to community college.’ I’m very proud of the Power of Democracy and the Civics Initiative and at first our goal was to ensure that civics be include the judicial branch because so much about civics included only the legislative branch in the executive branch. We want to continue to reach out to bring more into the civic learning experience and teaching our young people. So we partnered with the Department of Education and we were able to create a task force to study civics in K-12. We’ve reached over, we’ve connected, we convened with other groups. Diverse groups–unions, business, education, the judiciary, the federal judiciary and collectively we’re bringing civics to the people that includes a healthy understanding of the judiciary.