Prepared by: Phil Kern (Lead), Dave Unmacht, and
One of the ideas we
discussed at the December meeting - Have a “mock City Council” or “mock County Board.” Spend a couple days teaching students about
the different roles (elected officials, staff, attorney, engineers, citizens,
and interest groups), and then assign them roles. Give them a problem (traffic accident at a
busy intersection, budget dilemma funding park equipment or police equipment,
etc.) and give them a day again to study the issue. Then, over a day/two-day period, hold an
actual meeting where staff presents the issue, public can speak, and the
Council makes a decision. Can be used to many of the State
standards on Government and Citizenship, particularly the sub-strand of “Civic
Values, Skills, Rights, and Responsibilities.”
had a model from Janesville
- Plan on having a short course in the American Government class
for high school seniors. Go to the class 4 different times from Sept -
end of October. After giving an overview of the project and introductions
(the student and myself), have all students register to vote. Walk them
through that process and encourage them to send the registration in to the
appropriate jurisdiction. For the next
two visits, have any student interested to file for a mock election. Have
a City Council, School Board, one County Commissioner,
and one State Representative. After the election, plan on having a little
'election party' and directions for the upcoming semester. The following
Semester, go to the Economics-related class (same group of students as Amer Gov in Janesville).
Spend one day refreshing everybody's mind on the last class and then ask for a
common issue that a City and School would deal with (thought about updating
city parks or the development of a community center). Then, take a few
days with mock City Council meetings and mock School Board meetings.
After the mock meetings, have a joint meeting, with the citizen-assigned
students speaking in public forum. Finally, as both boards were
discussing the issue, the 'City Administrator' and 'Superintendent' were going
to explain how the financial side worked.
Similar to the first idea, but more detailed and
Also discussed at our December meeting - Perhaps a citizenship model at school could involve students
taking a small issue in their local community (i.e., getting a playground in a
park) and having the students develop a plan about how they could go about
solving the problem or addressing the issue.
It could involve interviewing local officials, determining if there is a
financial component to the project, or identifying the hurdles. I guess it sounds pretty similar to the Boy
Scouts and the Eagle Scout process, but the essential concept is having the
students get their fingers on the responsibility of a citizen to be involved
and participate in the solution – not just complain about the problem.
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developed and maintained by the Urban & Regional Studies Institute (URSI)
at Minnesota State University, Mankato as a service to the Minnesota
City/County Management Association.
Created 2004 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 29 December 04