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California Schools Program Would Push Students Toward Civics, Serving Community After Graduation

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California educators unveiled a new curriculum that focuses on more than test scores and grades, and pushes students to get involved in their communities after high school.

The blueprint is designed to get more of California’s students excited about going ot school and taking a public interest well into their adult years.

Rio Americano High School junior Saron Dea says students don’t get involved in government and community issues, because they see it as just another subject.

“For a lot of kids they just feel as if they don’t have the time,” she said.

But state Superintendent Tom Torlakson hopes to change that with more interactive lessons.

“It will be integrated into the new learning,” he said. “It won’t be studied separately it will be studied in conjunction with science, arts, history and culture.”

That will include having students learn about issues and candidates in elections, field trips to the state Capitol and more outside projects that deal with issues like congestion.

“They have a part in the project,” said California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. “They have made friends as part of working together. They’re dedicated to a common goal. And they find things out about themselves so they have interest in coming to school.”

Elk Grove Unified School District’s Dawniell Black says with state money dedicated to civics training, California could benefit greatly in the long run.

“There has to be funding to provide teachers with development and funding,” she said. “That will get them excited about bringing it into their classrooms.”

And for Dea, she says colleges like Harvard started taking notice once she became more involved in her community’s issues.

“I really do hope this will have a positive impact on the schools,” she said. “I really don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t.”

There is still no estimate for the cost of teacher training. The state hopes to roll the plan out in the next two years.

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