Lakeside schools to focus on civics

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Photo by Gary E. Mitrovich. San Diego Superior Court Judge Carolyn Caietti speaks to the Lakeside Unified School District Board on the importance of civics classes in our public schools at the Sept. 12 meeting. The Board unanimously passed a resolution to enhance the current civics program in the district.

Civics will have a greater focus in our local classrooms.

The Lakeside Unified School District unanimously passed a resolution “in support of civics learning opportunities” at their board meeting on Sept. 12, 2019.

Though civics is and has been part of the LUSD curriculum, the resolution directs district staff to develop a plan to enhance the subject in the near future.

The resolution was sponsored by board member Andrew Hayes, himself a product of Lakeside schools and one who can speak personally of the potential impact of civics – he has turned those lessons into a career.

Hayes is not only a LUSD board member, but is currently an aide to State Senator Brian W. Jones and formerly worked for past senator Joel Anderson. Hayes can attest to the value of civics in our public schools.

Hayes had become aware of various similar resolutions to enhance civics in schools across the county.

In fact, 21 different school districts have passed commitments to elevate the importance of civics in the classroom.

“This is something I wanted to bring forward,” Hayes said, “I’m so glad the Board agreed and supports this issue.”

At the Board meeting, the Honorable Carolyn Caietti spoke in support of the importance of civics learning in public schools. A San Diego Superior County Judge, Caietti is part of the Power of Democracy, a statewide effort “to elevate the status of civic learning and engagement and to revitalize democracy in California,” per their website.

The judge shared that 33 percent of all Americans cannot name even a single branch of our federal government; only 26 percent can name one.

Hayes wants our kids to know what “civics” mean. He quoted a section of the resolution to highlight the idea and goal of the plan: “We have much to gain by revitalizing high-quality civic learning that encourages students to think critically, collaborate, develop research skills, assess and synthesize information, and present coherent arguments based on data,” he said, for the record.

The result will be better citizens and informed engagement in the issues confronting our country today.

While there is no specific timetable, LUSD staff has been asked to bring back a plan as soon as possible.