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‘GOVLEARN’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY LUKE GIALANELLA

GOVLEARN 101

RAISING AWARENESS ON HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS My name is Luke Gialanella, and I am proud to introduce myself as a new ambassador & columnist for Awareness Ties! I am 15 years old and live in Los Angeles, CA. While I am young, this has not limited my ability to be an active member of society and engage in activities to benefit my community and humanity as a whole.

My foremost passion is engaging young people (my age and younger) about government and politics through education and awareness. This is best represented through my 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization, GOVLEARN Education, which seeks to provide civic education to elementary and middle school students, and encourage education departments across the country to add civics as a required class in core curriculums, in addition to English, math, science, and history.

So, how did my passion bloom? As a young child, I was always fascinated by studying the humanities; history, geography, literature, and philosophy. However, it wasn’t until a visit to Washington, DC when I was about 10 years old when government and politics became my foremost passion. I was enthralled by the way the U.S. government operated. Even with all of its bureaucratic measures, I found the basic operations and procedures conducted by government officials to be works of art in themselves; the result of hundreds of years of reform and progression in order to form a more perfect union.

After the 2016 presidential election, I was struck by how my peers were not educated or knowledgable about the structures and procedures of American elections and lawmaking, even blanking on the branches of government. I took it upon myself to do more research on civic education in the United States. I found that my local middle school offered 0 civics classes, 1 history class, and 17 various math classes. I have nothing against math, but I found this ratio to be absurd and unnerving for many reasons. As the 2011 Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools report highlights, students who receive high quality civic education are more likely to “understand public issues, view political engagement as a means of addressing communal challenges, and participate in civic activities.”

“I am of the opinion that earlier is better when it comes to learning about politics…”

If young people are uneducated about civic measures, they will be unprepared to be active members of society, and even struggle at the voting booth. I am of the opinion that earlier is better when it comes to learning about politics, and that schools should start teaching students about government as early as elementary school. As opposed to simply a semester-long civics course in high school, if students take civic classes throughout elementary, middle, and high school, they will develop a fuller understanding of both their government and their places in it.

GOVLEARN Education has posted online slideshows, blog posts, and videos about U.S. politics, as well as teaching live in-person and online classes with young students. In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, we hosted Q&As on Zoom for young students to ask questions about the election and its processes, including the Electoral College, battleground states, and presidential transitions. 81 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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AwareNow: Issue 18: The Outside Edition  

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