Strengthening Georgia's Future by Investing in Civic Education

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How our system of constitutional government is supposed to work in this era of intense division, and how we alone can help ensure the continued success of this American experiment envisioned by its founders Nothing is more important than making future generations understand the role one person plays. Nearly 250 years ago.

Saxby Chambliss (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Saxby Chambliss (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

For too long, civics have been neglected in our schools. But we have seen what the right investment in education can do. In the 1960s, we invested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a result of the space race, which spurred generations of innovators to make America the most prosperous nation in the world. Today’s “Sputnik moment” calls for a similar investment in civic education, which currently receives just 5 cents per student per year.

The Civil Protection and Democracy Act, which is intended to invest in civic education at the national level, expressly prohibits mandating national curricula, what to teach and how states and school districts We leave it up to the state and school districts to decide who belongs. This measure only provides additional funding to states to improve civic and history education based on local needs.

Our schools in Georgia could receive an infusion of at least $20 million annually over the next five years to help educate citizens and U.S. history. This means that young people from Rabun Gap to Tybee Wright can receive the solid civic education they need to properly exercise their rights and responsibilities as informed and engaged members of this society. means The investment could also help improve the high school graduation rate, which stood at 83.7% in 2021.

We can improve the way we teach foundational knowledge, help people better understand today’s issues, and expand opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience of what it means to function in the form of government. This is a three-day conference and learning experience that takes students to the State Capitol to meet with state legislators, officials, and other students from all parts of Georgia, discuss current issues, and participate in mock exams. There is an opportunity to strengthen programs such as the Georgia Youth Congress. Commission hearings and debates. Like any other subject, civics requires practical application.

In 2021, more than 260,000 Georgia students participated in state mock elections run by the nonpartisan Georgia Civic Participation Center. Funding from this bill will allow us to multiply that number—give tens of thousands of young Georgians in Atlanta and Moultrie alike the opportunity—to empower each of us to fulfill our civic responsibility. Provides access to hands-on, practical applications of the fundamental elements states and nations need to understand in order to preserve American values ​​and ways of life for generations to come.

These experiences are key to creating future Georgian citizens who are ready to inherit our republic. Hear from Melanie Kellam, Social Studies Teacher at Metro Atlanta about the importance of these programs please look. She learned more in her three days of the program than she did in one semester. “

The Civil Security Democracy Act empowers teachers like Melanie by providing professional development to educators to ensure they have the skills they need to navigate today’s world. It is also very important to support

But really, this act is about Georgia.

The state itself can help address one of its most pressing concerns, the immediate crisis in public sector jobs. It is estimated that nearly 70% of Georgia’s civil servants are nearing retirement. Some people can retire tomorrow if they want. We need to inspire young people to take up these jobs.

Funding from the Civil Protection and Democracy Act could help expand the “pipeline to public services.” It is a program created through partnerships with the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia County Commission, the Georgia City Association, and other leading groups to teach students. On how and why to pursue a career that gives back to your community and neighbors.

Rational people on both sides of the aisle agree that civic education is the key solution to sustaining and strengthening constitutional republics, as demonstrated by Senator Cornyn and Rep. Koons’ partnership on this bill. Of all the things Congress is considering, laws that ensure citizens’ democracy certainly cannot fall prey to Washington’s dysfunction.

We want and need a legislative delegation to support this measure. Learn more about the bill, call or write to your senators and representatives to support this important legislation, and help our children, our state, and me as we approach our 250th anniversary and beyond. Act for the very future of our country.

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