submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Mark Moody
Eve Galanter told of why and how she founded The Civics Games, an annual competition among high school students from all regions of Wisconsin. A few years ago, she became concerned when learning that research demonstrated the profound lack of knowledge of civics and the very poor level of participation in civic affairs among citizens of America.
Thirty-two percent of Americans cannot name the three branches of government. A high percentage of elected offices at the local level are either uncontested or lack any candidate at all.
Because teens like competition and “to know more than their parents,” Ms. Galanter developed a contest similar to the old College Bowl television series. Her approach to the Wisconsin Newpapers Association Foundation for sponsorship was met with enthusiastic approval.
For the first time, last February, students at all Wisconsin high schools were invited to form teams and compete at regional contests held at state universities throughout the state followed by the championship round at the State Capitol. Each round consisted of teams competing to answer 100 questions.
To demonstrate, she provided Rotarians the opportunity to answer five questions from last year’s championship round. If you were with us, you would know how we fared. Let’s just say, it was not a slam dunk. So as to include our honored ten spelling winners, she asked them to spell “emoluments,” a topic that will be addressed at this year’s Civics Games in April.
Most Rotarians were surprised to learn that civics is not required for graduation in Wisconsin, also true of most states. However, Wisconsin does require all graduates to pass the naturalized citizenship test with a score of at least 60%.
For more information about the games, please go to www.wisconsincivicsgames.com.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.
Thanks to Eve Galanter for this informative presentation. The fact that we got all of the answers wrong, or incomplete, says we have some work to do.