Spring 2014 Newsletter

CPS Students Learn 'Issue Framing' at Civic Engagement Days  

As part of IPCE's commitment to strengthen the civic engagement capacity and leadership skills of high school youth, IPCE offered a two-day workshop this spring for Chicago Public School (CPS) students whose schools are participating in the Global Citizenship Initiative. Designed and timed to align with the spring semester Civics class, the workshop "From Social Problem to Policy Action" introduced students to the concept of 'issue framing' at the heart of many civic engagement and social change efforts.

On the first day of this engaging and interactive workshop (March 31), the students learned how they can make a difference through policy change. Students worked in small groups and, using the World Café dialogue method, examined four public policy topics identified in the GCI curriculum: medical use of marijuana, student online free speech, defining marriage, and protecting against date rape. During four rounds of discussion, students addressed questions to help them frame the issue and were encouraged at the end to think about action steps their groups might take to gain public support and push elected officials to sponsor a bill on their issue. On day two of the workshop (May 1), the students were given an opportunity to present their issue briefs and discuss their findings with the students in an issues forum.

As a result of this program, students were empowered to learn 1) how to define a social problem, 2) how a problem becomes an issue, and 3) how an issue can become the basis for action and eventually the basis for a law.

Over 100 people and four schools including John Hancock College Prep, Uplift Community High School, Hyde Park Academy, and Alcott College Prep participated in the two-day event.

Copyright © 2014, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement
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