Kids Voting Missouri (KVMO) is an affiliate of Kids Voting USA®, a national non-profit, nonpartisan voter education program. The program promotes voter participation and education by educating America's youth about the importance of being an informed and engaged citizen.
Beginning with the Ritneour School District in 1996, Kids Voting Missouri has grown to become one of the best youth voter programs in the country. Since 1996, almost 1.7 million K-12 St. Louis area youth have had an opportunity to learn about elections and voting and more than 60%, or more than 985,000 students have actually cast a Kids Voting Missouri ballot.
Under a license granted by Kids Voting USA®, the Citizenship Education Clearing House or "CECH" serves as the central administrative agency for Kids Voting Missouri (KVMO), via the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education at UMSL. KVMO is administered by the University of Missouri-St. Louis through its Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH) in the College of Education at UMSL.
KIDS VOTING IS UNIQUE!
This program is one of the only programs in the country that virtually replicates the adult voting process. Kids Voting is authentic, exciting, and provides a real-life experience for its participating students. Students learn about the candidates and issues, engage in research and lively debate, simulate the voter registration process, and then actually vote for many of the same candidates and issues on or near Election Day.
CECH (Citizenship Education Clearing House)
A pioneer in civic education, CECH has been teaching students the "political ropes" since the 1960s. Originally an independent non-profit corporation, CECH became part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education in 1993. Historically, CECH's programs have targeted middle and high schools and have sought to give students an authentic, 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.
In addition to Kids Voting Missouri, CECH's other major school-based initiative is a local government program called MY LOGO (Missouri Youth Engaged in Local Government). This program aims to teach students about local government and involves them in problem solving activities. (For example, Parkway students in 2000 successfully advocated for a bicycle helmet ordinance in Creve Coeur).
CECH's DIRECTOR & STAFF:
On September 1, 2018, Dr. Wolfgang Althof, the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), retired from the university. Dr. Althof served for almost 14 years as Executive Director of CECH and was co-founder of the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Center for Character and Citizenship (www.characterandcitizenship.org/). Prior to joining UMSL, Dr. Althof was at in the Department of Education, University of Fribourg, Switzerland (1984-2004). Dr. Althof's focus has been on moral/character development and citizenship education in school-wide programs and on their contribution to school and staff development. A search for a new Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education is currently underway.
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Sandra I. Diamond (M.Ed., Secondary Social Studies with an emphasis in Constitutional History, UMSL and a B.S in Secondary Education with a comprehensive degree in Social Studies, University of Missouri) is the Program Director for both Kids Voting Missouri and MY LOGO--Missouri Youth Engaged in Local Government. Diamond joined UMSL and Kids Voting MO in 1999. She is the former Newspapers in Education (NIE) Coordinator for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [1978-1991] and also taught Civics in the Hazelwood School District for nine years. Diamond has won awards from the Missouri Bar (2006 Civic Virtue Award), Kids Voting USA's (2006 Program Excellence Award), St. Louis Bar Association Foundation (2010), and recently from the Citzenship Education Clearing House (CECH) Board for her life-time work in civic education. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, Sandy is starting her 19th year at UMSL.
Center for Character and Citizenship.
In April 2006, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and College of Education launched a new center aimed at inspiring more research and dialogue in Character and Citizenship education. Named The Center for Character and Citizenship, the CCC is an organizational framework and collaborative venue for scholars and educators interested in character education for character development and democratic citizenship. Scholars in the center conduct research and examine trends and practices in character and citizenship education. The ultimate goal is to influence and address ethical behavior and civic engagement by K-12 students. In addition to its focus on research, the center will offer professional development, leadership training and consulting services to educators. The center's Co-Directors are Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, the Sanford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education at UMSL and the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor for Citizenship Education. For more information see http://www.characterandcitizenship.org/