KIDS Consortium's Blog

Students Learn Public Policy by Creating It in We the People: Project Citizen

Posted in Project Citizen by KIDS Consortium on May 16, 2011

Middle school students from across Maine will share their public policy projects at the 2011 We the People: Project Citizen Maine Showcase on Friday, May 20, at the State House in Augusta.

Hundreds of middle school students from the Boothbay area, the Calais area, Cape Elizabeth, Portland, and Windham have worked on public policy projects on a wide range of current topics, including childhood obesity, climate change, concussion injuries in school sports, and fishing bycatch.

We the People: Project Citizen is a federally funded civic education program for middle grade students. The program promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government and enables young people to monitor and influence public policy.

Each participating class has worked for several weeks, first examining a local public policy issue by studying the impact of the problem on the community, working with local governmental and nongovernmental agencies in their research. Each team of students then evaluated alternative solutions to the problem, proposed an agreed-upon public policy solution, and, finally, created a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities in adopting their proposed policy. Following a local showcase, participating schools selected up to four projects to send to the State Showcase.

Friday morning, 16 teams of students will participate in oral hearings to share their ideas and solutions with one another and with adult policy-makers. From 12:30-1:30 pm, there will be a public viewing of student projects in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta, with students present discuss their portfolios from 12:45-1:00 pm. At 1:00 pm, Representative Emily Cain, Maine House District 19, will honor the participants and one exemplary portfolio, which will be sent to the National Showcase.

Project Citizen is administered nationally by the Center for Civic Education in cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization dedicated to serving the lawmakers and staffs of the nation’s states, commonwealths and territories. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education by an act of Congress. KIDS Consortium coordinates the program in Maine.

We’ll share details on this blog.

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