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Showing posts from November, 2019

Students Address Daylight Savings Through Service Learning

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by Mary Ellen Daneels and Logan Ridenour
This past July, the Civics Is Back newsletter featured Logan Ridenour from Carlinville High School, an Illinois Democracy School, for their service learning project to end Daylight Savings in Illinois. Logan credited he Civics Is Back professional development workshops he has attended over the years, incorporating tools such as Root Cause Tree Analysis to “tweak” his Civic Action Project. Logan explained, “All of my students, including this group, have said they enjoy the project because it is very student-centered, and it allows them to explore their connections to the community and the processes necessary for enacting change. My students learned that they can put things into action by furthering their own understanding of the systems that govern their lives.” At the time, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) took the students’ service-learning project and introduced Senate Bill 533. The students testified at the Capitol and their bill received…

Count Me In: Schools as Critical Partners in #Census2020

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by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
The stakes could not be higher for Illinois in the upcoming census. As Shawn Healy shared in a blog post almost a year ago, “According to the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, $800 billion of federal funding supporting 300 programs is appropriated annually to states based on census counts. Due to Illinois’ undercount in 2010, the state lost $952 per person of federal funding. In 2015 alone, Illinois lost $122 million for every 1% of the population we failed to count.”

Shawn continues to explain, “It’s widely known that Illinois is losing population in recent years, with losses most pronounced outside of metropolitan Chicago. In fact, 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties experienced population loss from 2010 through 2017. Rockford, Kankakee, Decatur, and Metro East (suburban St. Louis) have been particularly hard hit, while Lake County is the only Chicago area county with a shrinking population. Given the stakes of Census 2020…

Media Literacy Learning Opportunities Widespread at Democracy Schools, but Inequities in Access and Outcomes for Students of Color Concerning

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by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Democracy Program Director
On the heels of media literacy week, my analysis of 2019 student survey data from a pilot group of eleven Illinois Democracy Schools (N=3,904 students) turns next to media literacy learning opportunities and outcomes disaggregated by race/ethnicity (read the full analysis of questions related to media literacy).

Learned how to evaluate the credibility and reliability of news and information;Learned how to find different perspectives and multiple sources of information about a current event or community issue;And discussed how to tell if the information you find online is trustworthy. However, on each of these measures white and Asian students are overrepresented at the highest frequency and Black and Latinx students at lower frequencies as illustrated in the graph below.


Most students across race and ethnicity (54%) reported discussing how to effectively share their opinion on social or political issues online twice or more in class…