Youth Civic Education and Engagement (YCEE)
We’re building a future where young people can easily, safely, and effectively participate in our democracy. And we’re partnering with them to build a democracy that reflects their voices, their needs, and their communities. That means fighting for youth voting rights, comprehensive civic education, and an ecosystem where young Texans, particularly Texans of color, have the tools they need to advocate on the issues important to them.
They’re already leading our communities. We, our leaders, and our systems must match that leadership with every resource we have.
More than a quarter of Texans are children and nearly 3 in 4 young Texans are people of color. Yet while youth are leading mutual aid efforts, organizing their peers, and turning out at the ballot box in record numbers, our state continues to create roadblocks rather than on-ramps to their civic participation. In recent years, state leaders have enacted laws that encourage voter intimidation, restrict children’s freedom to learn, and whitewash students’ school curricula. Without access to a quality civic education, youth are less likely to vote, remain in school, engage in current issues, and serve their communities.
These are the current pillars of our work to move towards our vision.
- Streamline Youth Voting: CDF-Texas monitors bills, legislative actions, and developments year-round that create barriers for youth voting. We show up at public hearings, in lawmakers’ offices, and in the streets to advance youth voting rights, centering young Texans’ voices every step of the way. We identify best practices to engage youth in the voting process, and then we fight hard for them. We bring our voices to the Capitol, but we also partner with high schools, community organizations, and other experts to make sure we’re reaching young voters where they are.
- Promote Comprehensive Civic Education: We join with young Texans, experts, and coalitions to advocate for a civic education curriculum that reflects our youth, is diverse, and connects young Texans to meaningful engagement opportunities in their communities. We produce research, provide resources to educators, advocate to state decisionmakers, from state agencies to the Capitol.
- Organize Youth to Organize Youth: As part of our YOUthTX program, we strive to equip young Texans with the tools they need to engage with our political systems, navigate them with ease, and inspire their peers to do the same. We offer free workshops, teach-ins, and advocacy opportunities. Sound interesting to you or a young person in your life? Join us!
Educate for Change: Civics in Texas centers the experiences of eight civic educators in Texas to identify the key roadblocks and next best steps to comprehensive civic education.
Democracy Beyond the Campus centers barriers and solutions to civic engagement for young people with no college experience.
Texas’ policies make it harder for young voters—especially young voters of color—to cast their ballots. The Kids Are Not The Problem takes a deep dive on the topic.