California Educator

August/September 2020

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Page 49 of 81

of a civics class," says Jayson Chang, Santa Teresa High School government teacher and East Side Teachers Association mem- ber. "I can talk about how a bill becomes law, but students are so disconnected from that. So instead, we talk about what they can do to change something." Chang is one of many social studies educators statewide engaging young peo- ple about the structure of our government and how to navigate the political process to effect change. In the Digital Era, this civic guidance is even more critical, as young people are ill-equipped to deal with the world of "fake news" when left to their own devices. A recent Stanford History Education Group study saw more than 90 percent of high school students fail miserably in evaluating news sources on the internet, reinforcing that there is still much work to be done in civic education. " Ki d s a re f r u stra t e d b e c au s e th e y can't discern fact from fiction," says Tra- vis Humble, seventh and eighth grade histor y teacher and member of Perris Elementary Teachers Association. "is material affects their everyday life and they 're interested in it, and we need to support them." Informing the Future Educators provide civic guidance as election approaches By Julian Peeples F I D I D N ' T T E A C H gov- ernment, I would not talk a b o u t th e e l e c t i o n i n my classroom," laughs Liz Tan- ner, a 22-year government educator and member of Campbell High School Teach- ers Association. It 's cl ear sh e's jokin g, but th e sen- tim ent i s real . Th e current polari zed political climate has left many avoiding the 2020 presidential election entirely. B u t w i t h o n ly 5 5 p e r c e n t of e l i g i b l e voters casting ballots in the 2016 pres- idential election and an increasingly disconnected electorate, many educa- tors are doubling down on why our civic processes are so important. "I consider my government class more I Liz Tanner says the current political climate adds an 'air of the absurd.' . 48 Teaching & Learning

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