Much has been said about the achievement gap, which Democracy Prep strives to close every day. Very little, however, is said about the "civic achievement gap." With few exceptions, the civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes of low-income Americans, as measured by voter registration rates, voting records, political contribution records, and civic volunteering rates, are far lower than the rest of the population.
We believe that public schools should place an explicit focus on preparing scholars to become active citizens and leaders. Through civic initiatives, community engagement, speech and debate, as well as authentic student and family advocacy, our scholars acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitude to change the world.
Parent advocacy is as important to our organization as student advocacy, so important that our parents have their own organization to give them the tools they need to have their voices heard.
Democracy Builders is a national advocacy group that organizes parents to fight for better school choices and educational outcomes for the children in their communities. It has organized tens of thousands of parents across the country with training, student recruitment, and advocacy campaigns. Parents have used these skills to help secure facilities for their schools, increase the charter cap, eliminate the funding-freeze on public charter schools, and pass school reform measures. Learn more at www.DemocracyBuilders.org.
Each Election Day Democracy Prep scholars "Get Out The Vote" by standing on busy street corners, wearing t-shirts and handing out flyers that read: I Can't Vote, but You Can! Over the past five years, they have encouraged over 50,000 Harlem voters to get out the vote. To register to vote in New York City click here.
One of the concepts we emphasize most to our scholars is that, as citizens, we must hold our representatives accountable for their voting decisions and their leadership. In order to do that, our scholars, as early as sixth grade, learn who their representatives are at every level and branch of government. When our scholars hit the streets to encourage the Harlem community to vote we, without fail, find that they are asked who is running, and for what...Our 11-year-olds wind up teaching the adults rather than vice versa. Are you as civically informed as a Democracy Prep scholar?
CitizenshipFirst aims to become the country’s most creative driver of civic-education innovation. Through advocacy, in-school programs, research and reports, CitizenshipFirst hopes to remind educators, policymakers and all Americans that the founding purpose of education was to prepare our nation’s young people for self-government, and that restoring the civic mission of education must be an urgent national priority. Learn more at www.CitizenshipFirst.us.
The mission of Alumni Revolution is to ensure that first-generation college scholars graduate from the college of their choice and lead a life of active citizenship. The Alumni Revolution team, comprised of first-generation college graduates, will offer public charter school graduates high-quality counseling, advising, financial aid and advocacy training.