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Congressional Management Foundation

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit whose mission is to build trust and effectiveness in Congress. We do this by enhancing the performance of the institution, legislators and their staffs through research-based education and training, and by strengthening the bridge and understanding between Congress and the People it serves. CMF also is the leading researcher and trainer on citizen engagement, educating thousands of individuals and facilitating better understanding, relationships, and communications with Congress.

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The Civic Circle's seven steps are as relevant to adults as to kids, and also to the movement to revive democracy, writes Carney.

What a new civics course for kids can teach adults about bettering democracy

Carney is founder of The Civic Circle, a civics education nonprofit, and writes the Democracy Rules column for The American Prospect.

Civic education is back, and not for the first time. In recent decades, policy makers, educators and democracy advocates have launched one initiative after another with promises to finally make American government relevant and compelling to students.

Mostly, these have failed. We've had commissions, studies, federal funding. We've had debates over whether kids should learn the three branches of government and the Bill of Rights, or learn how to mobilize for equity and social justice. Nothing, it seems, has worked. Adults and kids alike remain appallingly ignorant of the most basic facts about American democracy, from which rights the First Amendment protects to the three branches of government.

Part of the problem is that textbooks and curriculum materials tend to overemphasize things like the granular details of the War of 1812, while ignoring more compelling questions like: What is democracy? How can you make it work for you? Existing civic instruction also tends to focus almost exclusively on middle and upper schoolers. This misses a key window during elementary school, when kids are forming their views of what's fair, where they fit in and what it takes to get along with others.

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Sen. Marco Rubio was honored for superior constituent service by the Congressional Management Foundation.

Six lauded for running Capitol Hill offices that work even when Congress doesn’t

Hoping to persuade the public that not all of Congress is broken all of the time, a nonprofit that works to make Capitol Hill run more smoothly recognized six lawmakers today for operating particularly noteworthy offices.

"Americans usually only hear about Congress when something goes wrong," Congressional Management Foundation President Bradford Fitch said in announcing the bipartisan roster of awardees, who were chosen by a panel of former members and staffers. "The Democracy Awards shines a light on Congress when it does something right."

For top-notch constituent service, the winners were GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California.

Awards for fostering a humane work-life balance and opportunities for professional development went to GOP Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal of California.

And for official websites and other public communications distinguished by informational depth and clarity, rather than public relations puffery, the winners were Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California.

How Mail to Congress Moves From the Back Office to the Member Office

Organizer: Congressional Management Foundation

Organizations that encourage grassroots advocacy invest considerable resources to get their supporters to email their Members of Congress. The first person who "opens" these messages are Legislative Correspondents (LC's). Yet how influential are these messages and how are they perceived by LC's who are responsible for processing hundreds of thousands of constituent emails every year? What does it take to get a campaign off this junior staffer's desk and in front of senior staff and the legislator? This presentation will provide findings from CMF's first-of-its-kind survey of Capitol Hill LC's.

Location: Webinar

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