BOSTON – Aug. 13, 2017 – PRLog — Local High School Organization Advocates for Massachusetts Civics Education Bill
Boston, Massachusetts – The H.2016 civics education engagement bill in the Massachusetts State House has gained a new sponsor: The Massachusetts High School Democrats. This is a bill dedicated to promoting civic education for young people. Members representing the group submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Education to help convince the committee members of the need to pass this bill. As a political and civics organization made up of hundreds of high school students across the state, the MAHSD believes it has important insight into the need for proper civics education. The organization believes it is critical for young people to understand how to participate in political discussion, engagement, and activism and that H.2016 can address these concerns in statewide education.
As West Springfield student Joseph Callahan, remarked, “civics, and the expertise needed to understand civil liberties is not something you’re born with, you have to learn it.” Yet, according to the MAHSD, civics education is in a dire state. Few schools have civics classes, projects, or programs that encourage students to become involved. Framingham student Ohad Klopman notes that “while some schools offer civic electives, many only offer it as an AP course, leaving it out of reach for many kids. The burden has fallen upon students to educate themselves about the pressing issues in their society.”
H.2016 seeks to strengthen civics education across the board. Student-led civics projects, increased civics education, programs around schools, and a stronger mandate for schools to implement civics activities hopes to address these various deficiencies in the public school system. The bill gives more opportunities for students to both express and involve themselves in today’s political world. All Americans are responsible for upholding the democracy our nation was founded upon. Callahan affirms that “the idea of being personally responsible for your government is an idea that we have to support.”
Apathy is the antithesis of democracy; it is the reason that voter turnout among young students hovers around 46%, lowest amongst all age groups (Pew). Education and specifically civics education is necessary to give young people the incentive and motivation to become an active member of their society or community.
Democracy can only function if the people that it represents are actively involved in it. Without the involvement of the people, democracy collapses. It is therefore crucial that students be given the resources and opportunities they need to become active participants in our great democracy. The Massachusetts High School Democrats are working to empower young people. They ask that the Massachusetts Legislature do the same by adopting H.2016.