Civic Education

Project Soapbox youth performing call to action speech


California’s HSS Framework asks teachers to fundamentally shift the context for teaching and learning. Rather than learning HSS content for content’s sake, teachers are tasked with building students’ capacity to apply their knowledge of history and social science to current, real world situations. By using examples and data that are readily relevant to youth, teachers address the, “Why do we have to learn this?” question posed by many students. As this applies to civic learning and civic engagement, resources developed under the Content, Literacy, Inquiry, and Citizenship Project have been grouped into two distinct, but related categories: Classroom approaches to civic learning and fostering student advocacy outside of the classroom. Each category is critical to ensuring that students have a comprehensive and meaningful civic learning experience.

Schools that support high-quality civic education programs provide students with opportunities to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their educational progress. Appendix E of the HSS Framework (161k PDF) makes the case for schools and districts to intentionally infuse civic education into their course of study. This can be a valuable resource for those interested in addressing civic education across the HSS curriculum.

Service learning is far more than community service alone; high-quality service learning experiences incorporate intentional opportunities for students to analyze and solve community problems through the application of knowledge and skills. Service-learning helps to make education real, connecting academic skills and knowledge to issues that matter to young people. In Appendix H (138k PDF), educators are provided with the basic tenets and examples of civic-focused service learning.

Helpful Resources to Consider

Classroom approaches to civic learning
Constitutional Rights Foundation

Fostering student advocacy outside of the classroom
Mikva Challenge

U.S. Citizenship Course
USA Learns Citizenship, a free online course developed by the Sacramento County Office of Education to help immigrants prepare for all aspects of the naturalization interview.

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement
Experience oral histories, maintained the Library of Congress, from people who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Learn what motivated people to risk their own safety for a cause, what tactics and strategies they employed, and how they view the legacy of the movement today.

Students create a root cause tree researching the causes and effects of mental health issues of youth