Being a Good Citizen
Will your child be a good citizen who upholds the values democracy? School is not the only classroom for learning how to perform this duty.
What You Need To Know
Citizens of the United States are obligated to contribute to the common good by performing duties that benefit the community—voting, jury duty, volunteerism, etc. Educators sense a need to improve this generation’s understanding of these responsibilities. Parents and teachers need to act in concert to strengthen young American’s motivation to be responsible citizens.
How You Can Help
Parents and guardians are the child's first and most influential teachers of civic values and attitudes. Among the lessons that the Department of Education recommends are:
- Example. Kids need to witness their parents performing civic duties like learning about candidates, paying taxes, and keeping informed about local events and how they relate to state and national policies. Visit your city’s public offices with your kids, especially the council chambers. Ask your kids for opinion about a local debate. Attend public events hosted by the Parks department.
- Resources. Stock your home with materials that explore local, state, and federal government. Keep a current list of your representative at the three levels in a common place. Teach your kids how to track reps’ votes on key bills. Post the Preamble to the Constitution near the kids’ homework spot. Watch quality programming about historical events and people.
- Legal Challenges. Every session of the Supreme Court, cases challenge interpretations of the Bill of Rights and key amendments. When a case refers to a key pillar of current life—desegregation, gun laws, privacy and so on—discuss the circumstances of the situation and review the passages in question.
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