Preparing students for democracy.

 

Before high school graduation, every student should understand the basic principles of how government works and how to participate fully in our democracy.

Our mission

To build the foundations of youth civic participation in high schools through education, research, advocacy, and volunteer organizing.

What we believe

Civics education has been in crisis for a long time. Young people register to vote and vote at rates far below their numbers. Helping young people understand how to participate effectively in our government is critical to a flourishing democracy. Young people are not apathetic. That is a stereotype. Civics education can thrive in communities that make it a high priority.  

We focus on direct outreach to high school communities, providing tools and advocacy aimed at empowering students to organize themselves and developing grass roots support for long-term improvements in civics education.

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Our story

The vast majority of high school students throughout the United States can either register or preregister to vote before they graduate. Yet most high schools have not made it a priority to help their students take advantage of these laws. Most students graduate without registering or preregistering to vote and without understanding how to participate effectively in democracy.

Prior to the 2016 election, most people had not heard of preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds. The overwhelming majority of high schools in California and beyond were doing little to promote preregistration, and most had not identified a person responsible for distributing voter registration forms, despite a state law requiring them to do so.

Laura W. Brill, an attorney in Los Angeles and a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg decided to change that. She began by writing opinion pieces, teaching community leaders, communicating with teachers and other school leaders, and organizing volunteers in California. Today, efforts have expanded throughout the western United States.