DENVER–Colorado will be participating in the second annual National Civics Bee– a patriotic twist on the spelling bee–that brings American middle schoolers together to engage in civics.
The Colorado Chamber Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and six local chambers of commerce to host the competition.
“We’re thrilled to bring this program back for a second year to support civic education for young Coloradans and promote engagement in government and democracy,” Colorado Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Loren Furman said in a press release. “Investing in early civic knowledge will set the foundation for a stronger workforce and healthy economy for future generations across the state.”
The competition helps build civics knowledge, a subject recently neglected in schools, according to a recent assessment.
“Results from the 2022 eighth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment showed a decline in the average score for the first time since the assessment began in 1998,” noted Pam Benigno, director of the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center. “The National Civics Bee helps foster citizen engagement at the middle school level by allowing children to use their critical thinking skills and civic knowledge to solve community problems.”
All Colorado public high school students are required to take a civics course, and the state legislature passed a bill in 2021 encouraging school districts to reinvigorate their civics curriculum in response to a noted decline in civics knowledge.
The competition begins at a local level, but the Colorado state winner will be invited to compete in the National Civics Bee in Washington, D.C., for the national title and more than $50,000 in prizes.
Students begin by competing in an essay competition, with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders using their civics knowledge to develop solutions to problems in their local communities.
The essays, which are due February 24, 2024, will be evaluated based on the student’s understanding of civics. Students are expected to address opposing opinions, use primary sources, and present an innovative idea. To participate, Colorado middle schoolers may choose to enter through one of six local chambers: Arvada, Buena Vista, Craig, Denver Metro, Eastern Plains, or Windsor Chambers of Commerce.
Twenty selected students will then compete in a live quiz event to test their knowledge. The top three students from each location will move on to the National Civics Bee Colorado State Finals on May 17, 2024.
The state winner will have the opportunity to compete in the second annual National Civics Bee in Washington, D.C., in fall 2024. The top three winners of the statewide competition will win cash prizes of $1000 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place.
The Daniels Fund and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation are the national sponsors of the event. Kinder Morgan is the presenting sponsor and PCL Construction is the civics advocate sponsor.
For more information on the civics competition, visit the Colorado Chamber of Commerce website.
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