Project Citizen provides opportunities for Colorado youth to participate in the public policy process through identifying, analyzing and proposing a policy concerning a local or state issue of interest to them. Students 1) select an issue, 2) research the problem using interviews, surveys, Internet and other technology, 3) analyze alternative policies looking at costs and benefits of each, 4) develop a solution that they feel best addresses the problem and 5) develop a support base and then find the right people in government who can help them make the change. Through Project Citizen, students learn how citizens engage in public policy, how to talk with adults about their idea and that participation means more than voting.
During the past decade, Colorado students (grades 5-12) have identified the need for many policy changes that later became reality. Examples of student study and action include restricting medical marijuana clinics near schools, repair of outdated school bath room facilities, distracted driving policies, healthier food in school cafeteria, daily physical education for elementary students. Many issues that students have researched are still on the policy agenda including in-state college tuition for undocumented students, four-day school week,” zero tolerance” behavior policies in public schools, wildlife on highways and lottery games dedicated to education.
State Project Citizen Showcases
State showcase at the Colorado State Capitol provides students with the opportunity to present their policy proposals to experts. In 2015, Project Citizen Showcase for elementary and middle school students will be held on May 7; the high school PC Showcase will be held on May 8.