Minnesota Civic Education Coalition - Kids Voting St. Paul
Kids Voting St. Paul will introduce youth-friendly technologies to enhance civic learning, expand its veterans civic education initiative, increase the number of students participating in Kids Voting elections, pilot a state-wide KidVention, expand and leverage partnerships, and convene a civic education provider summit.
Minnesotans have been the beneficiaries of a robust civic society from those who came before us. Indeed, we proudly enjoy a national reputation for civic engagement. Modern commitment to that civic culture is weakening. The Minnesota Civic Education Coalition is concerned about several threats that point to the erosion of Minnesota’s civic culture and the health of the State:
- Growing lack of civility in political culture
- Lack of discernment in media consumption
- Emphasis on language arts, math and science education have crowded out civic education
Healthy civic culture is a heritage of ordinary citizens being intelligently involved in the decision-making process of communities and government at all levels. It is essential that Minnesotans supply our democracy with essential ingredients for success.
Kids Voting will utilize various youth friendly technologies to enhance civic learning. Online voting efforts will be expanded and enhanced through the development and use of DoubleClick Democracy. This technology can be used throughout the state on election day as well as for student council elections and other educational programs. Kids Voting will also seek to leverage various social media, online evaluation tools, internet links to information sources for campaigns, candidates and voting procedures and other technologies to enhance state-wide civic education efforts.
Kids Voting will expand its successful Vote in Honor of a Veteran program. Students across Minnesota can secure and wear a button that has the name of a veteran they want their November 6, 2012 Kids vote to honor. Students wear the buttons to remind people to vote and to stimulate discussion about freedom, voting, veterans and civic responsibilities. Kids Voting partnered with the Minnesota Secretary of State to develop this program. Kids Voting will reach out to additional teachers, youth group leaders, school districts and parents to expand the program for Minnesota youth leading up to the 2012 and 2013 election. The website, www.youthhonoravet.com will be updated for online tributes to be posted by Minnesota youth.
Through various outreach efforts to local cultural and ethnic communities and through the start of a Kids Voting “hub” the organization will seek to increase students voting in the 2012 and 2013 election. Kids Voting Minneapolis and Kids Voting St. Paul will be building partnerships with state-wide Somali, African American, Asian and Latino communities. The Kids Voting “hub” space will be secured by May 2012 to allow for joint marketing, web development, 2012 and 2013 election planning, community civic meetings
and election ballot scanning.
Kids Voting will pilot a state-wide KidVention modeled after the program in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be an opportunity for Minnesota K12 students to participate in a mock political convention held at large local venue with Minnesota public officials.
The Minnesota Civic Education Coalition will organize and convene a second Minnesota Civic Summit -- geared primarily toward program practitioners -- as a way to connect people/organizations and build cooperation toward growing civic literacy in Minnesota.
Kids Voting staff will lead an effort with the Minnesota Civic Education Coalition partners to expand the reach of the Minnesota Civic Education Coalition. Through the development of a state-wide civic education stakeholder map, a state-wide communication and outreach plan and various community gatherings, the Civic Education Coalition seeks to increase and expand capacities of civic education organizations across Minnesota.
Civics Education. $250,000 the first year and $250,000 the second year are for a competitive Arts and Cultural Heritage Grants Program-Civics Education. The commissioner shall award grants to entities that conduct civics education programs for the civic and cultural development of Minnesota youth.
* Minnesota teachers and students will have opportunities to utilize DoubleClick Democracy for November 6, 2012 election, for various school elections and civic learning opportunities
* Minnesota youth will have access to various technologies, linkages, and social media that communicate information and enhance state-wide civic education efforts
* As a result of utilizing online tools and technologies, Minnesota youth will demonstrate increased civic knowledge
* Minnesota youth have opportunity to honor a veteran and develop a shared value for voting.
* Veterans organizations will be convened to develop new mechanisms to support civic education in Minnesota
* Minnesota youth will have an opportunity to share experiences and values held about American democracy and government
* Kids Voting hub will develop partnerships with state-wide education organizations such as: Education Minnesota, MN School Board Association, MN Association of School Administrators, and MN Rural Education Association
* Kids Voting will have reached out and increased participation of various cultural and ethnic groups
* Kids Voting will have a “hub” location to better streamline and enhance Kids Voting programs
* Kids Voting “hub” will have increased vote counting capacities to allow for additional Kids Voting program participation
* Minnesota youth from across Minnesota will have an authentic and age appropriate political convention experience
* Participating youth will report through the use of a pre- and post-test an increased knowledge of the American political process
* Minnesota Civic Education partners will convene to learn about civic report card
* Participants will commit to an activity that supports civic education goals developed by Coalition
* MN Civic Education Coalition will see increased number of partners from multiple sectors and document increased participation of state-wide civic education stakeholders
* Partners will demonstrate and report commitment to civic education goals
* Partners will report on indicators associated with coalition effectiveness such as; comprehensive vision, task/goal focused climate, member knowledge of other agencies, open and frequent communication, member collaboration, etc.
* Increase cost effectiveness of civic education work, partnerships and resources
The outcomes proposed in the grant were based on the civic education gaps of Minnesota students. These gaps were determined by planning work done with Kids Voting affiliates, Minnesota teachers, students, and various community partners focused on preserving Minnesota’s civic heritage. Significant outcomes from this grant period include:
• Large increases in Somali, Latino, Hmong and African American students during the 2012 Kids Voting election;
• Online voting opportunities through google program was offered to students in St. Paul;
• Collaborative planning for expanded state-wide Kids Voting website to be launched in 2013;
• Increased student participation in Youth Honor a Vet program;
• Establishment of Kids Voting hub which has helped streamline various program planning efforts such as increasing vote scanning capacities, ballot creation, outreach, planning, etc.;
• Facilitation of candidate forum - 550 students asked LeRoy Stumpf and Steve Nordhagen questions in Thief River Falls;
• Minnesota Civic Education professionals attended Civic Summit and heard from Judith Torney-Purta about civic education needs, gaps and trends; and
• Kids Voting Minneapolis increased voter participation from 7,550 in the 2008 presidential election to 14,108 in the 2012 presidential election.