OICA Promotes Civics Education with Comic Book, Kid Governor® Program
August 22, 2022
“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY – People often share with me their concern citizens do not understand civics and how government is supposed to work for the people. President Lincoln said our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
For the next generation to operate their government, we must teach them about their role in it. Encouraging them to look at solutions to the problems faced by society can spark conversations and lead to a greater interest in voting and participation when they are old enough.
To achieve this, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy recently partnered with Literati Press in Oklahoma City to turn a dream of mine into reality. At our recent Heroes Ball, we unveiled a comic book to help young people understand how they can find solutions to problems they see.
Our publication, Mighty Mia and Dyna-Bit Save Democracy, shows how work happens around the State Capitol through the eyes of a page, the high school students selected by lawmakers to work in the House of Representatives or Senate for a week.
This is a gateway for young readers to our recently re-vamped Kid Governor® program. We are now a state affiliate of a national project to educate fifth graders about civics, how government should work, the importance of voting, and how they can set goals to fix problems.
The comic book is a fun and easy read, tying in with prepared lesson plans which explain how voting Americans select officials and shape policy. This short magazine, just over 30 pages, includes a story to inspire young people and hopefully lead to problem-solving as a group to find solutions.
The book also includes word searches and crossword puzzles using civics terms and age-appropriate definitions. Most importantly, we do not direct any conversation toward a specific policy or political ideology; the solutions should come from the conversations in the class with the students and the local educator.
All this ties into the Kid Governor® program, modeled from the Connecticut Democracy Project’s program being implemented in participating Oklahoma schools this school year. The cost is free for fifth grade classes to participate as this has been privately fundraised by OICA to distribute the materials to each class.
Teachers interested in Kid Governor® should reach out to Lucy Gutierrez, OICA’s Program Director, at 405-236-5437, extension 3, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Teachers can also sign up their classes for Kid Governor® at https://tinyurl.com/OKKidGovRegister.
Our goal is to expand civics understanding by having a curriculum reaching thousands of young people and encouraging thoughtful discussion about how government officials work for the people. This has been a goal of the OICA Board of Directors and staff for several years and I am pleased that we are able to begin the program with this upcoming school year. Special thanks to former Oklahoma Governors George Nigh, David Walters, Frank Keating, Brad Henry and Mary Fallin for their support in this effort, along with Governor Kevin Stitt and Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister for their encouraging comments.
OICA is currently working to acquire private funding to pay for each participating fifth grader to receive this comic book, so no government dollars will subsidize this effort or burden local school districts. We hope every fifth-grade student in the state, in both public and private schools, will be a part of this program, and maybe even aspire to be Governor themselves. If you are interested in learning more about this for your local school, please go to https://www.oica.org and contact your local fifth grade teachers or administrators.