Civics for All

The Civics for All Initiative seeks to make Seattle a model civics education city where a “civic culture of learning” is cultivated and democratic principles are celebrated K-12 and district-wide.

This streamlined, non-partisan policy proposal calls for increased civics and media literacy in each grade of the social studies, and district-wide voting in mock elections each November, and K-12 civics instructional awareness “across the curriculum” when efficacious.

Civics for All is “Civics in the Core” because civics studies align so smoothly with the coming Common Core State Standards‘ emphasis on distilling argumentative claims from non-fiction texts.  Civics for All aligns directly with and will facilitate student success on the “New SAT,”  which emphasizes America’s founding documents and current events analysis for the first time in the history of the test.

Civics for All, featured in the April 2012 edition of Educational Leadership magazine, treats citizenship education as a fundamental student right that is central to our schools’ purpose. To restore this neglected right is a civic imperative that is being proudly embraced across Seattle!

Civics for All emphasis on equity for ALL students dovetails with the civic spirit of so many developments around Seattle, including the Pre-K education initiative as well as Mayor Ed Murray’s  recently penned Executive Order reaffirming the City’s commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative.

Support has been tremendous! Peter Levine a Tufts University professor who is the nation’s preeminent civics educator , the author of six books on civics and the executive director of CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, has written endorsement letters to Superintendent Banda and Mayor Murray.

 On March 17, 2014, the Seattle City Council and King County Council both  unanimously voted to adopt and issue co-Resolutions of Support for the Civics for All Initiative. KCC Chair Larry Phillips and SCC members Bruce Harrell and Nick Licata sponsored the resolutions. Also supporting the proposal: numerous Washington State Legislators, including Eric Pettigrew, Sharon Tomiko-Santos, Reuven Carlyle, Adam Kline, Bob Hasegawa, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and Eileen Cody; numerous Secretary of State staff, including Sec. Kim Wyman and former Sec. Sam Reed; leading education professors from Seattle U., the UW, UVA, and Stanford; organizations like CityClub; and teachers and citizens from all around the district and city. See complete list of Supporters here.

Citizens seem most excited by the Initiative’s proposed city-wide mock elections in which 50,000 scholar citizens will annually participate in democracy’s most sacred act: VOTING! If Superintendent Banda endorses the Initiative, King County Elections and the Secretary of State’s office have both committed to helping facilitate a student-friendly experience, with KCE providing customized, age-appropriate voter’s pamphlets, ballots,and voter registration materials and SOS providing on-line voting and detailed statistical voting analysis. Abundant research by organizations like Circle at Tufts University prove that when we teach kids the values and habits  of voting early in life they tend to become voters for life.

Just picture it: Seattle’s civic life will POP each fall as 50,000 students from 97 schools candidates with their families and choose sides on the issues, ideas, and initiatives of the day!