“Your future called. It wants a better civics education.”

June 24, 2013
A new national initiative is looking at demographic shifts and asking the question: Should schools go back to teaching good old fashioned civics again?

Some are blaming this voting apathy on the lack of quality civics education in our schools.

Like South Lake High School teacher Webster Hutchins. Hutchins, who was recently named Civic Educator of the Year by the Washington State Legislature, has developed a plan to foster actualized citizenship in Seattle schools. He calls it his “Civics for All” initiative and he is a tireless promoter.

Hutchins wrote the initiative after taking a group of Franklin High School juniors to Olympia to participate in the 2011 legislative session. When they returned, his students testified before the Seattle School Board where they asked that all Seattle students be given the same political experiences and opportunities.

Hutchins wants civics to be a recurring theme in all K-12 social studies classes and for civics lessons to be woven into other classroom lesson plans, when appropriate. As an example, he cites a math teacher who had students practice their skills by determining income tax rates.

He also calls for all schools to hold annual mock elections, for high schools to play a leadership role in registering eligible seniors to vote and for increased media literacy instruction, with a focus on electoral politics and current events.