Minnesota Civics Education Coalition - YMCA Youth in Government
* Minnesota students will meet together to learn about vital issues that affect the state and its people * Teens will conduct personal, hands-on exploration of the identified issues and consult with a variety of “topic area experts” to reach individual and small group conclusions as to solutions * Participants will understand the complexities of developing solutions to public issues and the importance of completing this work in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust * 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
• Students had deep conversations about difficult topics (discrimination in MN) that are not normally discussed, including several sub-topics to break down the larger issue:
o Ability Spectrum & Opportunity Gap
o Citizenship Status
o Sexual Identity
• Participants increased their individual and collective knowledge about these individual topics and about the larger issue of discrimination. This is evidenced in the PowerPoint projects each group completed and in the resolutions about each topic they presented to the larger group. These are in the binder provided to Humanities Center staff at summer visit.
YMCA Youth in Government will convene and expand a YMCA Youth Conference on state issues 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.
Convene and Expand YMCA Youth Conference on State Issues: The Youth Conference on State Issues (Y-CSI) gives Minnesota teens an opportunity to suggest and explore a key issue of importance to Minnesotans – to research, investigate, debate and prepare a “proposal for action” they recommend Minnesota take in addressing the issue area. This is done in an engaging environment, with civil public discussion on controversial topics and their equally controversial solutions. This conference expands on the venerable history of Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government programs by going from the traditional learning related to government process to an in-depth exploration of issues. Citizens need to have a command of both process and issues to be effective – this event helps move YIG programs forward to a more complete preparation of future citizens and future leaders.
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.