State lawmakers are beginning their seventh annual Back to School Program this week with a couple of new twists.
Instead of lasting a week, the event, which is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, will go year-round. Lawmakers also have a new mascot to help them teach students about government: a cartoon character named Citizen Brain, which will be featured in an educational video on democracy.
Last year, more than 1,400 legislators in 48 states participated in the program, which sends lawmakers into K-12 classrooms and seeks to inspire young people to become engaged citizens. According to polls cited by the Denver-based NCSL, nearly 50 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in 1972 presidential election compared with just 33 percent in 2000.
A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week