The Arizona Civic Education Project is a cross-college collaboration supported by the Maricopa County Community College District to design, develop, and distribute publicly available, interactive, and engaging multimedia modules about Arizona State Government and the justice system. The modules aim to consist of high quality, professionally produced, value- neutral, fact-based, and bias-free videos, lesson plans, printable materials and activities that explain how Arizona state government is structured and how the justice system works in Arizona. The modules also identify and teach the audience how to deal with encounters within the justice system through lessons about the courts and dealing with the police. In addition to the resources we create, links are provided with attribution to other free resources that have been developed by other organizations. The targeted audience for this project is high school and college students attending public high schools and community colleges. In 2015, Arizona legislature passed the American Civics Act (House Bill 2064). This bill requires students to pass a civics test based on the United States Immigration and Naturalization civics questions. Students are required to score 60% or higher in order to graduate from high school or obtain a high school equivalency certificate. The Arizona Department of Education along with help from the Maricopa County Education Service Agency and Arizona educators have developed a mostly multiple-choice version of the required test. The modules provide helpful information that pertains to the civic test along with additional informational useful to students and educators alike.<br/>There were a few goals kept in mind when assembling the modules and collecting information to put them together. The most important thing is to fairly and effectively educate<br/>2<br/>students about their rights and the place they can hold in their own government. The youth in America, and specifically Arizona, with one of the lowest rated public education systems in the country1, needs to better understand the justice system and the way it works in order to really be able to better understand and decide the role they play in it as they grow into the adult population. We also aimed to teach students, mostly young adults, how to navigate being involved with the law and situations they may find themselves in like being arrested or having to go to court. The videos included in the related modules teach students what to do if they’re ever arrested and go over important legal actions that could affect their outcome. It was also important to provide instructors with a fair and trusted curriculum that can be taught across the state. With a shortage of qualified teacher in the state, it is impossible to provide students from all different districts and background with the same content. With the mandated civics test required to graduate from high school, it’s important that students get a fair chance at passing despite their living conditions or resources. With the modules we provide, passing the civics test along with managing other issues that pertain to young Americans, become attainable and don’t require as much additional time spent outside of school hours. The additional topics covered within our modules also provide information regarding resources that students will find useful for their families and loved ones. Students in compromised neighborhoods may have family and loved ones dealing with court cases and the justice system. Overall, we wanted to provide an unbiased, all-inclusive curriculum that can be used across the state to help students learn about all aspects of the government in Arizona.
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