New Civics Education Tools for a New School Year
Educators work every day to empower their students through knowledge. I work to do the same for Rhode Islanders as Secretary of State, by making government more accessible and transparent.   Of course, having the right tools can make all the difference in getting our jobs done. So to start the school year, I’m excited to announce several new civics education resources and experiential learning opportunities that my team has been working on. These tools, available on the Department of State’s website at http://sos.ri.gov/divisions/civics-and-education, will help students of all ages understand their roles and responsibilities as participants in our democracy and help them make connections between our past and our present.   Rhode Island has a rich history of everyday citizens prompting change in our state. Our themed collections on subjects like the American Revolution, suffrage, and the historical experience of African Americans in Rhode Island will help teachers bring history into the classroom with primary source documents, high resolution images, and transcripts from the Rhode Island State Archives.   The Department of State also offers experiential learning through three distinct programs:  Students can visit Rhode Island’s historic State House and learn all about state government. Teachers can introduce students to primary sources and see some of our state’s most important documents by setting up a field trip to the Rhode Island State Archives. Lastly, high schools can provide students with the opportunity to vote for student government leaders and referendum questions using official voting machines provided by our Elections Division.   Under the Civics Resources tab, we have online and printable resources to help students understand how federal, state and municipal governments work. Students can also learn how a bill becomes a law in Rhode Island and research their elected officials to understand the responsibilities of their office. These resources are available in both English and Spanish    I hope these resources will help educators empower students to grow into engaged citizens. I also welcome feedback from teachers, students and parents on ways we can improve these tools, or additional items that may be helpful. Let’s get the new school year off to a great start!