State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently visited Haverhill High School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.
The program, which the Representative in recent years has also brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen and Lawrence, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process. Students had the opportunity to debate legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.
In today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” Another recent survey found that more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know how to do so
“Texting while driving is a serious issue and I’m glad that Rep DiZoglio and other representatives in Massachusetts have been taking steps in the right direction to resolve it,” said Eleanor Coffin, Haverhill High junior.
“Representative DiZoglio gave us relevant advice on how to work together to solve problems the same way the Massachusetts legislature does,” said Olivia Rodgers, Haverhill High junior. “She connected her experiences with ours. It was a great visit.”
“I appreciated the fact that Representative DiZoglio spoke to us about the issues the Massachusetts legislature has before it and she included us in the decision making process,” Evan Tsioropoulos, Haverhill High freshman.
“I can’t thank the Representative enough for taking the time to come and meet with my Civics class,” said Shaun Ashworth, Haverhill High history teacher. “I place high importance on creating a connection between the community and the high school. It provides students with a tangible opportunity to interact with the curriculum and further spark interest in what they’re learning”
“All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic learning program to educate our youth about what state government does in our daily lives,” said DiZoglio. “It was an honor to join the amazing students of Haverhill High School as I discussed how bills become laws with this next generation of leaders. Thank you to Mr. Ashworth for having me for this wonderful occasion.”
DiZoglio’s visit came on the heels of her civic education legislation being passed by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.
House Bill 2022, An Act relative to civic education in public schools, was passed as part of a comprehensive civic education package to require all public elementary and high schools to teach American history and civics.