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tv   [untitled]    January 30, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm EST

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we have three branchs or government and how they work together and how many supreme court justices there are at any given time. there's research that backs up that tomorrow's voters, today's young people are significantly lacking in information on the way the government works. the most recent assessment, from 2010 showed that 80% of high school seniors are lacking proficiency in civil knowledge. we are literally talking today's voters right now. and we have gotten to this point, it kind of the -- the history goes on for a long time, if you look back at where all of us started with public education, really the original purpose of public education was to create citizens and those of you who are familiar with your
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own state constitutions would know that 40 of the state constitutions cite the sponsor of civil literacy and 13 specifically identify civic education as the primary purpose of public schools. so we have a very strong and storied history of civic education as the basis of our educational system and you can ask what happened? how did we arrive at this point? quite a bit has happened. probably one thing is that we have taken civic education for granted and so in the last ten or 20 years as other priorities have come up, science, technology and math, those are now the subjects being tested, and for which funding is tied so other subjects in the social s
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studies have started to fall by the wayside. also what is happening simply providing civic education is not enough. it's really important that we provide good civic education. civic education that is keeping up with the times, really being aware of how our kids are learning today and how do we engage them today. what is fun and exciting for them to be a part of. there's a research out of harvard that concluded that the majority of the k-12 students learn about citizenship by reading about it and listening to teacher's lectures. and as all of you know, probably the best way to get interested and engaged in civic education is to get involved and learn how the national and state and local
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government pertain to you as a e young person and adult. it's not enough that we for example start testing kids on civics, although that is the kind of thing that is starting to happen in states around the u.s. like florida. but to figure out how to make sure that civic education is relevant to our young people, that they see it as exciting as we believe it is, that democracy is something they can participate in and believe in. so, as a secretary ritchie earlier stated i civic s was founded by justice sandra day-o'conner. she stepped off the bench and looked around and realized that there were unground attacks on the court system in the u.s. and the courts really don't have anybody to stand up for them. they do not do their own pr or have a lot of outreach. and she realized that if this
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continued that it would threaten the r the traditional independence of our court system and she began to ask around about what can we do and people started to point to the lack of education about the courts. and she decided to dig deeper and she aassembled a brain trust of folks and said how can we educate young people in a way that was better than what exists now? and overwhelmingly the response was we have to be where the kids are today and where the kids are today are not necessarily textbooks and work sheets. where they are today is that 97% of american teenagers play video games. and as those of you with teenagers would know, they spend an average of at least 44 hours a week in front of a tv or computer screen or some other
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kind of digital device. that is where the kids are. we took a big leap of faith and said, well, this is where civic education needs to be and we have done a call out for some of the leaders and educational technology and video games and said this is what we need to do. we need to make democracy as exciting as any of these games and we did that. we created video games that are fun and exciting and engaging. i really wish we could do our video screen here today, i would share some of the games with you, i encourage some of you to check it out. we are at and you'll see our games there. we now have 16 games that cover all of the different branchs of government and in particular some of the ones that are of specific interest to this
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conversation, we have one that asks students to think about what values they care about in an election and pick candidates that match those values. these are all fictional so we are staying away from specific candidates right now. but then basically test them on are they matching the way that they value different public policies against the hypothetical candidates they would be voting for in a few years. there's another game we just released about how to run a presidential campaign that teaches about how the electoral college works. these are games about electoral engagement. the games are catching on and we have been, our games have been played over 3.5 million times since we started because they are really great in a school setting. they are playable in a single class period. they include performance results so the students and teachers can review how they are doing.
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they are tight woven with a broader curriculum. we offer over 50 lesson plans that you can put together and teach essentially an entire semester of this. we have worked hard with game developers to make sure they are games and not quizzes with pictures and lights and sounds to make it seem for fun. these are games that we get feedback from the kids all the time, that they get exposed to the games in school from their classes and then they go home and continue playing them and we actually get notes from parents that say we have to pull them away from the computer and make them go to bed at night. so it's been successful. and our research shows that our games are improving civic knowledge and retention by anywhere from 15% on up and that actually scores, when you do both our games and lessons, are
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up almost 50%. so, we are being effective both in terms of how many people are out there playing our games and how much kids are learning. but all of this starts with schools and schools that are really stressing civic education. that is why i hope we can work together, to make sure that civic education gets the attention and resources that it deserves to we can preserve our democracy for generations to come. we try to make sure our resources are absenolutely free. but we, and they are aligned to all the standards in the states. whatever standards you may have. some states as you know have specific requirements for civic he h
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education requirements. but i encourage you a of yall o look at how that strengthens the requirements in your schools. my experience with civics education was getting it in the last year of the senior year that theory is when you are just about to go out to vote, but that is exactly when nobody is paying any attention. it's much to late to get to young people. we have specifically worked with middle school kids and if we could we would work with younger. there's kind of appear prime age, and again, those of you with teenagers know this, when kids are really, really concerned with justice and fairness. their favorite quote is that is just not fair. it's a primary opportunity to really get them to connect their personal and family experiences to their communities and than from the communities to the state and beyond. at a point when they are still
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not quite cynical to the way the works and learn about how these things work. i encourage you to also look at how we can strengthen our state's standards in civics especially for younger students when they are particularly open to learning how all of this works and secretary ritchie mentioned we have state leadership teams that includes himself and secretary chapman. i invite you to join our team, and help us think about how to advance civic education and how the get more schools to be aware of the free resources that we are offering to help teachers teach this subject matter in a more effective and engaging and fun way. again, i'm sorry that i can't share with you some of the visuals of the game. i would be happy to show you some of the games, i brought
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some with me. or answer questions later on. i want to thank you all for all that you are doing. and helping to help young people to be smart, engaged and active citizens. thank you. >> thank you. >> i know there will be a few questions and i just want to say in minnesota our chief justice of our supreme court has been one of our drivers and the national corporate council has weighed in and we have teachers from third grade up to college making use of these. so we know it can be used for a wide range of our young leaders and young citizens as they are growing up. are there any questions about i-civics or in general? secretary, please speak into the
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microphone, thank you. >> not so much, well i guess a question from the standpoint, i'm secretary condose from vermont and one of the things that we have found and as a form onner -- former state chairman. we struggled with this issue and we tried to put the civics curriculum back into the department of education but their focus because of budget cuts and other things over the years and no child left behind have abandon civics. i think that there's issues there that we need to relook at from a national level to try to get this thing reinstituted. i know my own office, we work, what we call boys and girls state, we work with high school and doe, we are going to be promoting over the next couple of weeks we will be doing, on
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their interactive learning network, which beams out to the schools themselves, we had a constitutional amendment change in 2010 that went through that allows 17-year-olds to vote in the presidential primary if they will be 18 by the general election. and the theory is that they ought to have a say who they are voting on and since it's a party issue, we okayed that. it passed overwhelmingly, 75% 80%, we run a poster and essay contest from three different levels, to talk about civics and the grade school, it's a poster contest. middle school and high school is an essay contest. we are trying to partner with the american bar association, the local the vermont bar
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association as well as vermont historical society and league of women voters to try to piefind s to promote it more. there's a lot that we can do but we need help from the federal level. >> all of those are wonderful things that are happening and i hear about similar things in other states. so thank you for sharing that, i do want to say that our primary focus at i-civics is providing the resources for free to schools and i hope it would make it easier for systems that are looking doito adding back civico make it more cost effective to do so. we are partners and work closely with the civic of schools who are out there working at the state and federal level on questions of how to change policy to advance civic education more specifically. if you are not working with that organization, i would encourage
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that as well. >> we have had a big use of these resources by our home schoolers, it can be used almost anywhere and available in disk for if there's a situation where it's not possible to access the internet direct many. they are available on disk form. other questions or comments? secretary brown? no. great, well thank you so much for coming and being with us today and sharing that and thank you for the work that you do in helping us in our jobs. thank you so much. >> i'm matt schultz, secretary state of iowa, and i want to thank secretary ritchie for being a great partner this year in working on this committee. i will introduce ms. heather
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smith, current president of rock the vote. under her direction and leadership, rock the vote built new tools and refined best practices for continued engagement of young voters. setting the highest voting record in mid term and presidential elections in the organization's 20-year history. prior to rock the vote she found and directed young voters strategies. a partnership with the graduate school of political management at the george washington university. in 2004 she served as national field director, the largest nonpartisan grassroots effort ever to mobilize young voters. she received a ba in public politics from duke university. we asked heather to come speak to us, more specifically to talk
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about how we can have voter outreach with rock the vote and young voters. before she comes up i would like her to speak more specifically about the partnership that the state of iowa has put together with rock the vote. with the caucuses we had a great event called rock the caucus, brought it to a high school in des moines, we went out of our way to print t-shirts to make it a more special event for them. and i'll just show you. so, all the kids got a t-shirt. we had michele bachmann, ron paul and romney boys come and speak. it was a great event, it was a great way to show how we can work with groups like rock the vote and out of that we have begun a new class in iowa called rock iowa. and we are taking the democracy classes from rock the vote and
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incorporating it with our own iowa education. if you go to the secretary of state's website, you'll see on our banner the promotion where we have teachers and homeschool groups that can sign up and a member of the staff will bring the class two different government classes and high schools and home school groups. i enjoy the partnership with heather and i would like you all to welcome her. thank you. >> thank you, so much, matt. secretary schultz, and secretary ritchie for having me. it was quite a way to spend caucus day this year. you can imagine, we we'll called on teachers all across the state of iowa. together we promoted this to every high school and we said when the whole country , if not the world, is watching
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eelectrieelectric -- elections, let use this to run mock caucuses, they happened at over 25 schools in iowa and then we got to guest host the mock caucus and we had over 600 students over 350 media outlets showed up to live stream and record the work that was being done. it was fun for us but that day was incredibly special for those students. -- this is a conversation from earlier at the national association of secretaries of state winter meeting. we are going to head back now to the meeting live under way with a congressional dialog with u.s. representative todd ropeta coming up. >> introducing in a few moments, as a bit of background, we hold
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regular conference calls to keep up the developments that state election offices are facing each day. one of our calls, we decided it would be a benefit to have a true dialog with members of our congress. we wanted to talk about concerns about the impact of federal law as they relate to elections. at that time we had just received a letter that was signed by 196 democratic members of the house urging secretaries of state to protect voting rights by opposing new state measures that would quote make it harder for eligible voters to register to vote, end of quote. while we have invited a number of speakers and guests from the list that signed the letter, none of them could join us today. i was wondering if anyone in the
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room who might have had dialog with mr. hoyer might have any comment s at this time? or if he sent anybody to speak on his behalf? no one? okay. at this time, i feel it appropriate as president of the organization to speak and to say that i believe this organization has a collective interest in ensuring fair and honesty elections and i believe that policy disagreements and discussions are healthy and inevitable, however, the blanket letter to all members of this organization is not. his stating that quote, partisan plays, end of quote, are being made, that within itself is partisan. we all take oaths to follow the
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laws that are create by our legislative bodies not to follow either party's philosophy as they relate to voting or to any other dealings to the office of savings account of state. our laws and preferences will vary from state to state but we as an organization need to send a loud and clear message that our ability and integrity to follow the law and admin strate those laws will not vary. questioning that we can oversee those elections in a professional manner and ethical manner is insulting to the credibility of this organization, and it's my job as president to ensure that it the not divide this organization. does anyone else have anything other to say? i cannot see that far, can you
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tell me who that? chris cobak? >> yes, i think we all received the letter from representative hoyer and it was addressed to every secretary of state in the country and i too was disturbed by the letter and although i did offer my own response in defense of my particular state's changes of its election laws. i think it's appropriate for this body to respond in some fashion because it was addressed to all of us collectively. i drafted a resolution that is very short and to the point and it's nonpartisan. and it's balanced. it simply says that we all have the right to do whatever we believe will improve our election procedures and that that can include a variety of different things and that you know, nass stands for the principal that the states may pursue their course provided they are pursued in good faith
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and that they are consistent with the united states constitution. i'll send around some copies of this and pass it around. i would like to introduce the resolution. >> is this something that you want to pass around and discuss at the end? >> however you want to proceed is fine. >> okay, we will do that then. in the meantime we have one brave congressman, one rightous man that joined us today -- well no, i'm afraid he didn't. there were many invited to come, but he accepted. you'll know why he joined us today, he is one of our favorites in that he has been a member of nass, he was indiana's secretary of state for years, he was the president of this organization and in the leadership of it for many, many
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years, he is a personal friend to many of us. and he worked very hard arrange and rearrange, de-arrange his schedule to be with us today and not only do we benefit from his experience as a former state election official and thus his true understanding of whatuñgbb do, he is also a member of the house administration committee and therefore in a position to address election law at the federal level. congressman todd rokita is here for dialog, he is not here to give a 50 minute speech and bore us to death. he would not do that to you. he is here honestly to take questions and provide you with answers. so at this time, please give a great nass welcome to a great former nass member, congressmanned congressman todd rokita.
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>> thank you, beth, i really appreciate that introduction. the reason i'm hear we did have some scheduling issues as many p of you do as well. i know what happens being a former nass president. i know what gets happened to you by leslie reynolds if you do not come at the appropriated time to do your duty. i'm here because i love this organization. and i still love it from the new perch of my elected responsibilities. some of you have, i got meet on the way in and rekindle some old friendships and i appreciate that very much. some of you asked me how i like my new job and robin asked if she could kiss my ring. i'll hear about that later. and i said, you know, to robin and others, i said you know, the
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job of being an elected representative special lspecial especially in our nation's capitol is a high honor and there's nothing like being an elected state-wide official. especially when are you the chief election officer. it's been the highest honor of my life and i credit a lot of that to what i learned here from many of you, and from this organization and the way the organization conducts itself. in all honesty is what brings me back here today. i do want to say thank you for having me and let's get to it. >> no softballs with this gentlemen. who has the first question? >> awow. >> okay, well thank you for
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being with us. >> i'm with you until 4:00. >> thank you for being with us, while i've been involved in elections for a long time one way or the other i'm new to the business of running an election though. i have to say i had not paid much attention to the provisions in the constitution that kind of share power on elections between the congress and the states. but i do feels as this proposed resolution has, that it's the state's responsibility and that many states delegate it to local governments as well or work with local governments. i guess my questions for you are number one, how do you feel about the idea of actually fining states for not following federal law exactly on elections issues? this has come up before us and i would love to have a dialog about that. the second issue, it's kind of a
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question and a request, is that we right now do our elections on paper. there's very little of it, eelectronic. people can fax their ballots in. but we have not been briefed and we cannot get a class five briefing on who can read a file as it's moving across the wires. i'm just very concerned about how, you know, there's a lot of people pushing uses to move away from the paper trail to go fully to electronic. it would be helpful to have congress look into the privacy issues as that happens. there's so many way to impinge on a voter's privacy if you move to electronics. >> i appreciate that. and welcome to nass as well. i see you as a new member. let me take the last question first, when i was elected secretary of state back in my


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