Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation are committed to reforming New York City and State government by fostering transparency, accountability, accessibility, and the highest ethical standards. Since 1897, Citizens Union devoted themselves to holding the local government accountable. Improving voter turnout in New York City and State is a top priority of Citizens Union. To this end, for years Citizens Union advocated election reforms that would make voting easier to all. Many of these reforms have been approved by the state legislature in 2019; however, other social and cultural factors affect voting behavior. Citizens Union believes that exposure to civic education is one of these factors.
In the spring of 2018 Mayor De Blasio and the NYC Department of Education launched a new initiative, Civics for All, with the goal of strengthening opportunities for students to develop skills and knowledge related to democracy. The goal of the DOE is to develop a school culture that empowers and prepares students as active community members and engaged citizens. The aim of this Capstone project is to conduct a comparative study on civic education policy among a number of cities, similar to New York City in terms of demographics, diversity, and school system structure. The research will examine criteria such as the type of curriculum, assessment and evaluation, teacher support, relationship with civic groups, funding, impact, and other factors that will be discussed in collaboration with the Capstone Project team. Citizens Union is particularly interested in knowing how different municipalities use their school system to activate students into meaningful engagement. The objective of the project would be to learn from the policies of cities to determine clear recommendations for New York City’s new Civics for All initiative.