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As civics education declines in Oregon, nonprofits and a state office try to fill the gap

(Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

As a social studies teacher at Amity Middle School, it falls on Jeff Geissler to teach students the importance of voting, paying taxes and how their government works.

Now in his fourth year teaching social studies, Geissler recalls taking a training offered by the Classroom Law Project on civic education. During a week-long training, Geissler spent long days learning about the Greek roots of democracy, the American Revolution, the genesis of the Constitution and debates over the founding document.

He overcame his students’ “so what?” reaction by linking civics to conflicts in social life, questions over how rights are applied and conversations they might have with their family at dinner.

When his students learned about the number of adults who don’t vote, “They were aghast and disappointed in the adults,” he recalled.

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