Media to Fight the Democracy Deficit Disorder

Democracy Deficit Disorder

There is a scourge of disdain, distrust and disinterest people have for democracy right now. Motivated by a lot of different forces, this scourge is driven by politicians, media, and other engines of public pedagogy that teach, inform, lead, and compel people to hate the things we should care for the most for our collective good. Adam F.C. Fletcher of the Freechild Institute and J. Cynthia McDermott call this the Democracy Deficit Disorder. we’ve written a new book about it called Democracy Deficit Disorder: Learning Democracy with Young People, focused on how children and youth are fighting this disorder. The book comes out on May 31, 2023, from Peter Lang.

Following are some websites, programs and events that support young people building democracy. These are resource-rich places and events for youth, educators, youth workers, and others who want to build democracy with young people.

Child Friendly Cities Initiative from UNICEF. The CFC website provides a powerful tool for exchanging information, sharing data and networking among partners globally. Users can access information about the activities, objectives and methodologies of CFC projects, links with CFC partners and examples from Child Friendly Cities world-wide. Building on over 20 years of the Child Friendly Cities experience, the website and Handbook underline the importance of respecting and realizing children’s rights in the development of cities and communities.

Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement works to promote the idea that the knowledge, action, and wisdom of children and youth can make the world more democratic.

KIDCITIZEN, a project of the Library of Congress, allows kids to explore Congress and civic engagement through primary source documents.

Library of Congress Resources for Teachers is an in-depth collection of classroom materials and digital and historical primary resources can be used across subjects.

National Archives Resources for Teachers allows users to explore and analyze primary sources from U.S. history and other resources.

Social Studies and the Young Learner is the National Council for the Social Studies’ (NCSS) premier elementary practitioner publication that blends practical teaching inspirations with theory, Social Studies & the Young Learner.

SoundOut provides tools, training and technical assistance to engage student voice through meaningful student involvement in education, communities and democracy.

Teaching Tolerance aims “to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy.” They provide classroom resources, professional development, and a regular publication.

Voices Of Youth is a digital community for youth, by youth created by UNICEF including blogs, illustrations, poems and other sparks of creativity.

Youth Infusion Strategies supports nonprofits, government agencies, and others through organizational development, program assessment and design, staff professional development, community trainings and much more. is the U.S. government website that helps you create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest, youth-related news.

Zinn Education Project is a non-for-profit supported by ReThinking Schools and Teaching for Change. Their teaching resources and seeks to introduce “students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula.”

These are just some of the media at work against the Democracy Deficit Disorder right now. Do you have others to add? Please share them in the comments section below!

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Democracy Deficit Disorder
Action | Books | Media | Organizations | Training

Related Topics
Democracy | International development | Nation building | Involvement in decision-making | Popular education | Democratic education | Community development | Government involvement

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