US Census Bureau Launchs National ‘Census in Schools’ Initiative to Improve the 2010 Count
BALTIMORE — With the 2010 Census less than five months away, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves today visited a Baltimore high school to help launch a new initiative to help local school districts educate young people about the U.S. Constitution and the importance of the census.
“We are thrilled to launch the Census in Schools program,” Locke said at Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore. “The census is a vital part of our democracy and children have historically been undercounted. When local schools decide to include census ideas in their curriculum, kids will learn about the important role the census has played throughout American history and increase their awareness of the upcoming 2010 Census.”
Scholastic Inc. — a global children’s publishing, education and media company — has worked with the Census Bureau to develop the standards-specific supplementary education materials, which are being provided to all 118,000 schools nationwide. It is expected that schools will decide on their own whether to include the material as part of their standard curriculum.
The Census in Schools materials are available free online at <www.census.gov/schools> for educators, students, parents, home-schoolers and the public. Teachers can use the lesson plans — as they are or adapted as needed — to teach a host of topics including mapping, math concepts, data literacy and civics.
For students who come from homes where English may be a second language or where there’s a low level of information about the decennial count, the Census in Schools program represents an opportunity for students to teach their parents about the importance of participating in this national, civic exercise and the central role it plays in the annual allocation of more than $400 billion of government funding.
“The Census in Schools program offers creative ways for students of all ages to think about their community and how this important constitutional responsibility can impact it,” Groves said. “Kids cannot vote but the census offers a real way they can actively participate in our democracy. We hope schools will find some useful ideas to supplement their regular curricula.”
Available resources online include:
- Lessons Plans: Materials will feature skill-building activities in map literacy, graphing, reading and civic responsibility.
- Teaching Ideas: Provides ways teachers can incorporate census information into the classroom.
- Facts for Features: A compilation of facts about special days, including anniversaries and observances such as Women’s History Month, Cinco de Mayo, Back to School and more.
- Broadcast, Photo and Radio Services: Easy-to-access research opportunities include photos and videos.
- Quick Facts: Quick, easy access to facts for students and teachers to learn about people, business and geography for the nation or states, counties or large cities.
- Maps: Teachers can print and post maps in their classroom enabling students to closely study real-world census data and graphically see the demographics and population distribution of the United States.
Home schools can access the same materials online at <www.census.gov/schools>.
For more information about the Census in Schools program or to learn about how to participate, visit <www.census.gov/schools>.
I don’t normally just post press releases. I’m annoyed by the practice in print; I shouldn’t ask you, dear reader, to be any less so. However, this is a pressing topic and I don’t have much to add right now.
Stand up and be counted!