Local Civic and Education Leaders Gathered to Launch New State-wide Effort to Prepare Oklahoma Youth to Become Active and Engaged Citizens
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora would like to see “every student who graduates from (the Oklahoma City Public Schools) system to be engaged, passionate citizens who are going to make sure that this world is a great place for all of us.”
(Oklahoma City, OK) On Friday, November 11th, Generation Citizen gathered over 100 local officials, teachers, college students, and donors to officially launch the action civics education service in Oklahoma. The event, held three days after the election, asked supporters to look forward to growing the next generation of engaged citizens in our city and encouraged everyone to get involved “Beyond the Ballot”, making civic engagement a year-round priority.
Generation Citizen, a national action civics organization, opened their Oklahoma office in September 2016. In this first year, Generation Citizen plans to run its semester-long curriculum in 10 -15 secondary classrooms in the greater Oklahoma City metro area, including Harding Fine Arts Academy, schools in Oklahoma City Public Schools and Norman Public Schools. College volunteers are recruited to help teach the curriculum in the classroom. Generation Citizen is developing relationships with the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma to provide that volunteer pipeline.
Oklahoma City Public Schools District Superintendent Aurora Lora attended and spoke at Friday’s event. In her remarks, she emphasized the role of student voice and civic action in the district strategic plan. Ms. Lora stated, “We want to increase the percentage of students in Oklahoma City Public Schools who are engaged in some kind of civic action, to help bring about change for their community and help make Oklahoma City a great place for everyone.”
“We don’t need to invent a new system to bind us together as a nation,” said Amy Curran, Oklahoma Site Manager. “The system is our democracy. The basic concepts of representative government. But it has sat too oft neglected, ignored and misunderstood. Let’s introduce our children to our democracy. Let’s teach them to value its institutions. Let’s teach this next generation how to be citizens.”
Dr. Nyla Khan, a founding board member of Generation Citizen from the community, reflected on the evening by saying, “The translation of a political and social vision into reality requires an efficacious administrative set-up and vibrant educational institutions, which produce dynamic citizens while remaining aware of the exigencies of the present.”
The Generation Citizen curriculum aims to ensure that students receive an effective, action-oriented civics education that promotes long-term civic engagement and builds collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills that students will need throughout their lives. In the 2014-2015 school year, after completion of the semester long program, 90% of student participants reported they believed they could make a difference in their communities; and according to teachers 72% of GC students increased their civic skills.
The successful launch of Generation Citizen’s action civics program in Oklahoma has demonstrated that our youth have a critical role in passionate and responsible civic participation. Learn more at generationcitizen.org.