CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND INCLUSION
Civic Engagement, service-learning and other forms of community-based learning engage diverse learners in authentic work that profoundly motivates because it matters in the world. Emerging America Director, Rich Cairn, has been a national leader in the field since the 1980s.
Massachusetts civics legislation in 2018 strengthened K-12 civics, requiring that every learner have opportunities for student led civic engagement projects in grade 8 and in high school. Also in 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Education passed a History and Social Science Framework that focuses on civics and inquiry. Emerging America has served as an advocate for Students with Disabilities throughout this effort.
Emerging America is a proud sponsor of the 2021 Educating for American Democracy Roadmap. This vital framework raises the profile of history and civics education across grades and advances the central role of inquiry. (See "Tools for Inclusive Civic Engagement" below to learn about Emerging America efforts to build broad support for full inclusion of students with disabilities in all aspects of instruction and in civic engagement.)
Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry program offers many resources to teachers to design instruction that pairs content knowledge with inquiry and fundamental citizenship skills. Contact us about current workshops and courses.
Mass DESE just released a new INCLUSIVE VERSION of the Civics Project Guidebook! This is the most effective and useful support for civics projects available. The new edits elevate it to an impressive new level!
Essential Civics Resources:
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) History & Social Science instruction resources page. It includes the:
- Civics Project Guidebook to support implementation of the 2018 law. Updated January 2022. - THIS GUIDE IS EXCELLENT! - RCairn
- The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition united to pass the 2018 civic engagement law.
- Emerging America's Windows on History Local History program offers opportunities to pursue civic engagement when students research issues of historic and contemporary interest in their own community.
- Search the EmergingAmerica.org library of Teaching Resources for accessible civics lessons and classroom activities.
- Find discussions on Civic Engagement policy, programs, and teaching supports in our EmergingAmerica.org blog. See for example: Closing the Gap in Civics for Students with Disabilities in Classrooms from K-12.
- Sign up for our monthly History eNews for updates. Use "Contact Us" button on this page.
Join the #TeachDisabilityHistory campaign! Led by youth and young adults from Easterseals Massachusetts. Link to the campaign.
Tools for Inclusive Civic Engagement
More than 500 teachers have completed Emerging America's graduate level Accessing Inquiry courses. Our Accessing Civic Engagement for Students with Disabilities offers support for full participation of all learners in Civic Engagement projects:
- The 2022 Civics Project Guidebook emphasizes accessibility, including many suggested Tips for Inclusion Supplement to the 2019 DESE Civics Project Guidebook from Emerging America.
- Links to Disability Advocacy Groups to suggest leads and contacts for student projects. (Updated 01-2022.)
- Rubric of Student Inclusion in Civic Engagement Projects to make students accountable for inclusion.
- Inventory of School District Readiness to Engage ALL Learners in Civic Engagement.
History & Civics Extension to the EAD Roadmap
With the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Emerging America helped draft an Educating for American Democracy Roadmap Disability History and Civics Extension. We are eager to involve additional educators and organizations in fostering inclusion in history and civics. Complete this short survey to give input and find out more about how to get involved. See the recording of our joint webinar, "Creating an Inclusive Civic and History Education for All: Educating for American Democracy," from March 25, 2021, including Louisiana teacher Kim Eckert.
Library of Congress TPS Civics Apps
Several of Emerging America's fellow members of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium have developed apps on civics education:
i/Civics Exploring Primary Sources: https://primarysources.icivics.org/ Free products for teaching primary sources online.
Citizen U is a multidisciplinary, inquiry-based civics curriculum using primary sources for elementary, middle, and high school students to foster civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
Case Maker features twenty pre-made civics challenges that teachers can share with their 6th-8th-grade students, or customize and annotate specifically for their needs.
DBQuest introduces students to major questions in civics and history using a Big Question as guiding light for deep examination of three selected primary sources from the Library.
Engaging Congress is a fun, interactive game that uses primary sources to explore the basic tenets of representative government and the challenges they face in contemporary society.
Kid Citizen features episodes in which children interactively explore Congress and civic engagement through historical primary sources, connecting what they find with their daily lives.
Eagle Eye Citizen is a digital resource that helps middle and high school students think critically about Congress, civic participation, and American history using primary sources from the Library.