The Purpose/Mission of CECH ...is to give students a real-life experience in the political process, with the expectation that “learning the system” will encourage them to participate in politics when they become adults. CECH is not the first or only program with this goal, but the CECH program goes beyond others by its strong emphasis on the decision-making process. CECH encourages its students to learn about influence, authority, and power– what they are, who has them, and how they can be affected. Hopefully, through CECH’s programs, students grow into adults armed with the knowledge and equipped with the tools, to work within "the system" to make changes or keep the status quo, as their informed opinions dictate.
The Citizenship Education Clearing House, known as CECH, was "born" in 1967. At that time, CECH's Advisory Board set the following 5 goals for CECH.
- Encourage high school education for citizenship through student citizen apprenticeship (learn by doing).
- Develop affirmative steps toward helping high schools involve youth in citizenship activities in the community so that they may continue as effective participants in civic, political, and governmental affairs.
- Assist high school teachers in finding a variety of opportunities for useful student participation in community affairs complimentary to regular classroom activity.
- Offer teacher training programs and seminars to assist teachers in citizenship oriented teaching procedures and to give teachers the opportunity to exchange and discuss project ideas with other teachers and key governmental personnel.
- Provide a continuing liaison between teachers and community leaders, project planning assistance, in-service training, and evaluation of the educational effectiveness of student participation projects.
While more than 50 years have past since CECH began, these goals are still desired outcomes of the CECH Advisory Board. What has changed, is that CECH now offers its programs to a wider school audience. It's youth voter program, Kids Voting Missouri is a K-12th grade program and has seen more than 1.8 million students have the opportunity to learn about citizenship and voting; and it's local government program, MY LOGO, now includes elementary, middle, and high school students and partners with local city governments.
MY LOGO—“Missouri Youth Engaged in Local Government” Program is a unique approach to teaching youth about local government. The program began as a joint program among the University of Missouri –St. Louis College of Education, Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH) at UMSL, University of Missouri – Extension.
To carry out MY LOGO’s mission in the schools, CECH works closely with the St. Louis Area City Managers Association (SLACMA), Missouri Municipal League (MML), Missouri City/County Management Association (MCMA) and individual local governments throughout the St. Louis metro area and state. The program includes the use of the MY LOGO Local Government Handbook for classroom learning, classroom visits from government officials, and field experiences (site visits to city halls and local courthouses) so that students can study local government first-hand. These students then work on projects that address issues facing their respective local governments and communities. In the spring, Project Fairs and Local Government Issues Forums are offered to participating schools. Participating students have a chance to meet local government officials and dialogue about issues facing their communities; the Project Fairs and Issues Forums culminate with students getting to participate in a Mock City Council meeting.
Beginning in the spring of 2015, MY LOGO began working with the Webster Groves SchooDistrict and piloted a local government program for 3rd graders. Including the 2018-2019 school year, more than 1800 Webster Groves 3rd graders have learned about city government and engaged in a Mock City Council Meeting.
KIDS VOTING MISSOURI...Kids Voting USA is a national non-partisan, non-profit program in which students in grades K-12 study portions of special KVUSA grade specific citizenship activities and then go to special Kids Voting Missouri polls with their parents or other adults on or near Election Day to cast ballots for many of the same candidates and issues as the adult voters.
Kids Voting USA began in Phoenix in 1988 and expanded nationally in 1992. In 1996, Kids Voting Missouri began as an affiliate of Kids Voting USA. In almost 20 years, Kids Voting Missouri has grown from 1 school district (Ritenour) and about 6,400 students to more than 30 school districts and almost 200,000 K-12 students. Since 1996, almost 1.8 million Missouri students have had the opportunity to learn about elections and voting and responsible citizenship and more than 1.1 million K-12th graders have actually voted in a Kids Voting election. The program is administered by CECH at UMSL/COE through its Citizenship Education Clearing House (known as CECH).
Mission of Kids Voting USA...Our mission is to create lifelong, informed voters among today’s youth; support educators in teaching the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; stimulate political awareness among children and adults; and increase participation in our democracy