May 17—METHUEN — State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell recently participated in an event designed to teach students about how to become active participants in U.S. democracy and raise awareness about the importance of civics education.
During the week of April 26-30, the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition held the first Civic Learning Week, a full week with 48 virtual events. The week was highly successful, with more than 500 participants and over 400,000 social media impressions.
Campbell participated in an event on April 27 titled "Massachusetts as a National Leader in Civic Education Reform: The Impact of 2018 Legislation."
Campbell, along with state Sen. Jason Lewis of Winchester, spoke to students about the importance of the 2018 state law that expanded hands-on civics education opportunities for students across the state — which made Massachusetts a nationwide leader in civics education.
Three students, including two students from Methuen High School, participated in the event to share the civic action projects they have been working on at their schools. Anailys Moreta Garcia, a junior at Methuen High, discussed her project addressing student mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic. Calysa Alba, a freshman, described her class's work to find solutions to student tardiness.
Garcia said her project helped her and her classmates "really understand that we have the power to make changes in our community and society and the world."
Alba noted that her project was a great way to learn teamwork, responsibility and leadership, describing it as "a really eye-opening and world-opening moment" that inspired her to get involved in her community in other ways.
Following the students' presentations, Campbell and Lewis answered questions from the students about what is currently being worked on in the state Legislature and ways to get involved in politics.
"The inaugural Civics Week is a powerful testament to the value of a rigorous and engaging civics education," said state Rep. Andy Vargas, D-Haverhill. "I'm proud of all the hard work put in by the Massachusetts Civics Learning Coalition and all the advocates, administrators, teachers, and students who helped make the week's events meaningful and a resounding success."
The FY22 budget passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives includes $1.5 million for the Civics Project Trust Fund, which helps school districts and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to implement the 2018 civics education law. This funding has also been included in the previous two state budgets and will continue to expand and improve civics education across the commonwealth.