The Oklahoma Attorney General and EverFi are teaming up to provide Commons: Digital Town Square to middle school students throughout the state. From a recent press release:
Commons: Digital Town Square covers Rights of U.S. Citizens, Structure of U.S. Government, Elections and Voting, Juries and the Courts, Persuasive Writing and Debate, Taxes and Budgets, Duties of Elected Officials, Legislative Process and State and Local Government. The course presents students with opportunities take part in real-world civic engagement activities, including writing to elected officials and composing an op-ed article.
You can read more here.
What is notably missing from this (and many other civics education tools) seems to be the historical context in which these rights, institutions and processes were established, as well as any discussion of comparative politics and processes around the world. It seems worth asking whether youth disengagement comes merely from not knowing the tools available, or whether apathy is also related to a sense of inevitability? Might students (and adults) be more involved if they understood American political engagement not as simply “the way things are” but as the result of a particular history offering particular opportunities and challenges?