Resource of the week: Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement  

"Talking to the kids made it more understandable for me too. When they grow up, they'll hear about how bad voter turnout was and they won't just say 'whatever."

- a Democracy in Action high school student-instructor

"It's important to vote. You have to do a lot of research to see who's best. You can't just do eeny-meeny-miny-moe."

- Democracy in Action 5th grade participant

Arsalyn Program
Ludwick Family
PO Box 1796
Glendora, CA 91740
Tel  (626) 914 5404
Fax (626) 852 0776

Arsalyn, a non-partisan
program of Ludwick
Family Foundation,
promotes youth civic
and political engagement.

Democracy in Action
a civic education project

what is
Democracy in Action?
why is
Democracy in Action needed?
how can we get the free Democracy in Action curriculum? standards and implementation
your comments

What is Democracy in Action?

Arsalyn's Democracy in Action civic education project brings high school students trained by their teachers into elementary schools to teach students about democracy and voting. Democracy in Action entails four lessons addressing key aspects of American citizenship and a fifth session devoted to a voting simulation with real voting equipment. The voting simulation is timed to coincide with real elections. Participating students simulate voting on the same candidates/initiatives as qualified voters in their area.

The first two lessons focus on four concepts key to American democracy:
  • majority rule
  • individual rights
  • representation
  • the law

The last two lessons focus on the voting process - from registration and information to election campaigns and voting.

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Why is Democracy in Action needed?

The purpose of Democracy in Action is to begin familiarizing students with the meaning of citizenship and the mechanics of voting at an early age. Democracy in Action is designed in response to several reports, among them a 1999 report sponsored by the National Association of Secretaries of State, that identify a lack of familiarity with how voting machines work as a barrier to youth civic participation and urge educators to begin teaching young people about citizenship at an earlier age (New Millenium Project, National Association of Secretaries of State, 1999).

Democracy in Action is designed to benefit not only participating elementary school students, but their young student-instructors as well by providing the latter with an opportunity to review and augment their knowledge of democratic theory and practice in preparation for their role as instructors.

While a variety of civic education curricula are currently available, we think Democracy in Action fills an important niche: it is shorter than most such curricula, is easy to understand yet not oversimplified, and unique in its intergenerational approach.

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How can we get the free Democracy in Action curriculum?

Arsalyn's Democracy in Action civic education curriculum is now available free of charge. Arsalyn aims to encourage the implementation of Democracy in Action nation-wide and is pleased to offer the curriculum in either a downloadable format or in hard copy. To request a hard copy of the curriculum, please use the message box below. Arsalyn is also pleased to offer nation-wide technical support for implementation of Democracy in Action.

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Standards and implementation

Democracy in Action was first implemented successfully in Glendora, CA, schools. It is designed and reviewed by educators, curriculum specialists and political scientists.

The Democracy in Action curriculum conforms with California State Standards for Content (CSSC) and includes elements corresponding to California State Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Elements addressed include: CSSC 5.4 elements 4, 5 and 7, CSSC 5.5 element 1, CSSC 5.7 elements 3 and 5, CSTP 6.0.

If you would like to implement Democracy in Action in your local schools and have any questions regarding implementation, please feel free to contact us at the address below. If you are implementing or have implemented Democracy in Action, we would be very interested in hearing your reviews and comments. Please use the message box below.

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Your comments

Please use the box below to request a hard copy of the curriculum, to find out more about implementing Democracy in Action or to share your views and experiences with the curriculum.
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