Civics contest to encourage student engagement in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Newspaper Association is sponsoring a new civics contests for high schools across the state to encourage students to participate in local and state politics, at a time when older adults are outpacing younger adults in voting.

Teams of up to four students will compete in the Wisconsin Civics Games tournament, the Wisconsin State Journal reported .

The contest will begin in January, with multiple teams from a single school competing against each other. Seven regional competitions will be held in early February, followed by the state final of 14 teams facing off at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Eve Galanter, a WNA Foundation board member and former Madison City Council member, said she hopes the competition's energy will inspire students to engage in the political process.

"I want our students to feel as passionate about public service as I do," Galanter said in a statement.

Young adults have been voting at lower rates than older adults for years. Less than a quarter of all 12th-graders were at or above proficient in civics education, according to a 2010 study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

History, government, social studies and civics teachers will help students prepare for the competition. Teachers will also distribute a study guide to help participants.

WNA Executive Director Beth Bennett said newspapers will sponsor participating high schools. She said newspapers have historically been an important source of information regarding local government.

"We hope the Civics Games will build on that important mission by empowering and encouraging young men and women across Wisconsin to become engaged with government on a local and statewide level," Bennett said.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj


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