It’s a fact, 60% of businesses don’t feel students are prepared for the workforce while 58% of our youth are unable to cite two forms of political engagement that they have taken part in. A recent poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that more than one-third of Americans couldn't name a single branch of our government. Meanwhile, the millennial generation lags behind in voter turnout, engagement in the political process, and knowledge of basic U.S. history. Currently, just 10% of high school seniors are proficient in U.S. History, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Furthermore, only a quarter of U.S. students scored proficient or better on the nation's report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
To deeply engage young people in the power of democracy and help them realize their role in shaping public policies that improve the lives of others, we must do more. Students must experience lively and meaningful civic-engagement opportunities both inside and outside of school, where they can, in the words of the Annenberg Center's report, "work effectively together as partners, allowing opportunities for youth to take ownership of parts of the process, mobilize others, and become powerful role models." By investing in students’ potential through hands-on, direct interaction with peers and by deeply engaging them in civic and interpersonal processes, issues such as political disconnect, lack of empathy, and ineffective communication skills can be resolved and the cycles.
The aforementioned statistics were sourced from this research:
- Pianin, E. (2014, January 29). The surprising reason college grads can't get a job. Retrieved from: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/29/Surprising-Reason-College-Grads-Can-t-Get-Job#sthash.9Dmw5Khk.dpuf
- The 2006 civic and political health of the nation: A detailed look at how youth participate in politics and communities (Rep.). (2006, October). Retrieved from: http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/2006_CPHS_Report_update.pdf
- MacCormack, Jean (2015, March 15). Getting Millennials Engaged in Civic Life. Education Week. Retrieved from: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/03/18/getting-millennials-engaged-in-civic-life.html
“Our youth are agents of change”
Students who can approach problems by thinking through the entire system and then design new, relevant models are poised to discover innovative solutions. The PolitiCraft learning platform creates this opportunity at a national level, producing a future generation of driven thinkers with the experience required to successfully address challenges in personal, professional, and civic life. Students have historically felt disconnected from the political process; they often have trouble expressing their views, especially in a constructive or empathic way.
Therefore, providing them with the opportunity to explore real-life civic scenarios is critical and empowers students with an improved sense of political efficacy. The variety of interactions that the PolitiCraft Card Deck presents cultivates student perspectives and enhances socio-emotional, systems thinking, and collaboration skills. PolitiCraft helps students to both understand challenges in today’s society and play through our current system for solving them.
While the game is a simulation of the democratic process, our larger goal is to provide an online platform where students can discuss the issues they worked through in the game and develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions of effective civic engagement.