Civics Education at NCSL


The State of Civics Education

Millions of American students and adults continue to be unfamiliar with how their government works at even a basic level, leading experts to, at worst, sound the alarm about a crisis in civics education or, at best, to call for its revitalization. Legislators, educators and civic-minded organizations are working to reverse this trend with the hope of reinvigorating American civics.

NCSL is proud to offer a wide variety of resources for state legislators and staff, who are the face of state government for most of their constituents. Legislators and staff inhabit a unique space to interact with citizens and to promote engagement and participation in all levels of American Democracy. Whether interacting with schoolchildren on state capitol tours, at town halls or in their classrooms, NCSL’s materials, resources and talking points will help legislators and staff inspire the next generation of voters and representatives.


State Legislative Process

Click on the graphic above and learn more with the infographic.


Civics Education Resources

This page provides resources and information not only for teachers, students and parents but also for legislators and legislative staff who are interested in supporting and fostering civics education among their constituencies.

Learning the Game

Of all the games in town it would be difficult to find one more mysterious, unpredictable and less understood than the state legislative game.

This page offers a comprehensive description and resource on the legislative process plus tips on how to navigate the legislative environment and how to get involved.

Civics Ed Materials

NCSL makes available, free of charge, the following publications and video resource materials for high school, middle/junior high school and elementary school students to be used by state legislators visiting classrooms.

The American Democracy Game

Through the American Democracy Game, you can put yourself in the shoes of a lawmaker and find out what it is like to deal with public policy issues. Discover the different interests on each side of an issue and how negotiation and compromise can lead to a good result.
This online game, recently updated, is designed for middle school students and includes teacher guides and information.

Building Democracy Podcast

This six-part series covers the history, characters and stories of state legislatures in America, from their beginnings in Jamestown, Va., to present day and into the future. Tune in and hear about the historical events that helped shape, and in some cases almost derailed, the legislatures we know today. Recommended for high school and higher education students.