Grant Provides Innovative Methods of Teaching Politics

Posted: July 20, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Joel Clark, Public and International Affairs (PIA) assistant professor, hopes a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will pave the way for the creation of a website that hosts digitized and web-based resources for government teachers. Clark, PIA chair Scott Keeter, and PIA associate professor Priscilla Regan are completing their work with the planning grant that enabled them to develop new methods of teaching state and local politics at Wakefield High School. The next step is applying for an implementation grant of up to $350,000 in October to expand their accomplishments from this year.

Clark spent several days at Wakefield over the past year working on two specific projects with the students. The first was a study of affirmative action where students created individual websites on the topic. The second was an affordable housing project that included mock town hall meetings attended by Arlington County Board members and developers. The course was a good topic for Wakefield students because the school has Arlington’s highest percentage of students living in low-income housing.

“It’s one thing to talk about civics education and local government, but we wanted to put things in motion and bring it to life,” says Clark. “The NEH grant allowed us to do that and hopefully we will have the resources in the future to continue using this method.

In addition to creating the government resource website, which has already started in conjunction with George Mason’s History Matters project, Clark says the additional grant money would allow the university to work with multiple schools across Arlington and potentially the Virginia Department of Education.

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