Also in the works (scheduling dates and details now) – Student workshops in Kenedy ISD and Dallas ISD, and a Panel Discussion in Frisco ISD. Contact us at email@example.com to schedule a student workshop on “Civil Disagreements in an Era of Toxic Discourse” as part of our 2020 Campaign for Civility©.
We will be at the National Council of Social Studies Annual Conference, soaking up the amazing speakers and networking with groups that are focused on civics education (because civics educators and social studies scholars are, quite simply, some of the MOST interesting people on the planet)!
Now we are headed to Houston and Spring, Texas to collaborate with educators there and work with high school students to kick off our 2020 Campaign for Civility©!
It is hard to reconcile the fact that it is already time for another election. Did the last election really end? Did we ever come together as a country after the 2016 election and move forward together as a nation? I would posit, No.
The last 3 years have been ugly. Now people are starting to put their red and blue jerseys back on (if they ever took them off) for another winner-take-all bloodbath. The President is cursing on Twitter and casually suggesting the country may be back to our Civil War division. An impeachment inquiry is gathering steam. The peoples’ good will is exhausted.
There are also millions of young people who are growing up watching this public spectacle of politics, and trust me when I say, they don’t pull their punches when asking the tough questions in class. They want answers and they don’t accept platitudes. They know the future is theirs and they aren’t about to let us hit the snooze button on their democracy because everyone has resigned themselves to the lazy belief that “the other side is just crazy.”
So, what? What now? Let the Constitution work its magic. Let the three branches of government pull their weight and wade through the natural tug-of-war that the Founders created to ensure that no one person or branch can become too powerful. And as we look ahead to the 2020 election, let’s each NOT be dragged into the pedantic mudslinging and pedestrian insults that others find comfortable. Commit to civil discourse about issues and candidates, about our differences…and commit to asking sincere questions and listening to others. Oh, and talk to kids. Not in that “indoctrinate-them-good” way. Really talk to them. They’re listening.
YSCA has been busy sharing its mission and putting our resources into the hands of many small-town Texas teachers from places like Pharr, Point Isabel, Monte Alto, and Brownsville.
July 16, 2019
YSCA was invited to present in Austin to 20 teachers from around the state who were attending the Teachers Traffic Safety Academy, hosted by the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and Driving on the Right Side of the Road. Our Director shared YSCA’s Campaign for Civility and several teachers and curriculum coordinators have requested that we bring our program to their schools and districts to share with students. Fall dates are booked, spring is filling up fast, and we are so excited to have the opportunity to share our tools for civil discourse with students across Texas! This fall alone, we anticipate speaking to over 1,000 students in various locations!
“Happy Independence Day! YSCA awards Ron and Brad Dunn Memorial Scholarship to Arub A. who is attending UTD and studying Political Science; Read an excerpt of Arub’s thoughts on Civility in a Democracy below:”
In America, the term “democracy” is often defined as a system of government in which the people are represented through elected officials. While this is entirely accurate, it is important to understand that democracy extends beyond a dictionary definition or a form of government; democracy is a powerful word that encompasses each and every one of us. Democracy constitutes friendly political banter, formal debates, and activism on social media. Democratic societies are held in high praise because of their value of free speech and freedom of opinion. In order to have a successful and peaceful democratic community, civility is necessary. However, many often forget that democracy also means that differences are unavoidable and disagreements will be encountered. The reason civility is often forgotten in democracy is because it is mistaken for passiveness. Civility does not mean sacrificing your ability to stand up for what you believe in. Civility is understanding the difference between listening and waiting to talk, and the difference between an argument and a discussion. Civility is having the strength to try to understand other points of view and avoid raising your voice. Civility is being able to put aside differences and come together as one to achieve the goals that unify us. For a democracy to work in the best interest of the people, there needs to be discussion of different ideas with people of different backgrounds in order to allow the greatest ideas to prevail. With the polarization and political climate today, however, this has become very difficult. The goals the people have set are not being achieved because the lack of civility is leading to an injured democracy. Our society is crumbling because people are moving farther away from each other with no intent to come together. But it is time that we stop fighting. It is time that we understand the connection between democracy and civility and begin to value them equally. The American people have become fractured, but it does mean that we cannot heal. We are frayed, not broken. There is still hope for our community, and that hope is invested in each of us. We all have the ability to make an impact and to encourage others to respect differences. Civility will not come easily, but it will make for a brighter future and a more cohesive society. Civility will strengthen the people and our democratic government, civility will foster kindness and respect, and civility will help create the future we all aspire to have. It is time that we come together, as Americans, to stimulate the change we all hope to see.
At the invitation of the State Bar of Texas, our YSCA Executive Director, Debbie Keen, attended an event honoring the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation’s 70 years of service. The HWS Foundation has partnered with the State Bar of Texas’s Law-Related Education (LRE) division for many years to support the production of high quality civics education resources. The HWS Foundation and LRE are both fellow nonprofit organizations (501c3) and provide these educational resources to teachers across Texas, without charge. Debbie has contributed to and consulted on many LRE projects over the years and was awarded the Texas Lawyers Auxiliary Teach of the Year Award in 2015 for her commitment to promoting civics education.