April 29, 2020
By Carla Truttman
And although everyone does count, many communities are challenged to get an accurate count for the Constitutionally-mandated decennial Census. The census is used to determine how the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives should be apportioned, and also to adjust the Electoral College, so correct counting is politically significant. But for many communities, the more immediate impacts of their count are financial as the data are used to distribute funds for a wide range of federal programs, including funding for schools, food stamps, even highway construction projects. Communities that are chronically undercounted lose out.
I live in a rural area of Northern California, and like community members in many rural areas, we work about chronic undercounting of our hard to reach residents. Communities of color and communities where residents may not all speak English are also frequently undercounted. For me, promoting a strong and accurate census provides a strong—and non-partisan—civic engagement issue for students and families.
Census 2020, however, was just gaining momentum when COVID19 hit, and teachers across the country started dealing with school closures, remote learning and the unknown landscape of how to best serve our students. What better topic for remote learning, though, than a national activity intended to be done at home? I decided to put together lessons adapted from the resources provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, heavily influenced by C3WP strategies and structures, and designed to model remote curriculum delivery. These lessons are also created so as to not require internet or high bandwidth.
My hope is teachers will assign these lessons and we will introduce students to civic engagement at the most fundamental level and increase census response rates, because… EVERYONE COUNTS!
These lessons have been designed for remote learning and provide both digital and paper options for students and teachers. Please click on the links for access to grade-level lessons.