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We are rapidly developing and implementing new programs on a national scale.  Your support is needed more than ever. Whether you are a parent or an organization, a corporation, or you have just remembered how lucky you are to be an American, please make your donation today.

The Dreyfuss Initiative is a 501 (c)(3) organization and our EIN is #26-3083533. Your contribution is tax deductible.

Take Action

As a Journalist

Be true to yourself and those who view your stories.  Look beyond the immediate newsworthy event to undercover underlying themes and trends. Realize that your primary duty is to hold public officials and processes accountable to the law and the community.  Investigative journalism must remain a viable part of a healthy civic culture. Demand local governments make public information truly public.  Make sure officials are fully complying with the law. Demand local governments be fully accessible to the public.  Public meetings must be publically noticed so everyone has adequate and timely information in order to participate.  Public meetings must be conducted in a manner that allows for fair and open consideration of public issues.

As a Public Official

Make sure your public information is truly public.  This means your posting all public documents on the web, and making them keyword searchable.  Create a citizens’ advisory board to make sure public information is available and user-friendly.  Make sure there is a “sunshine” act that requires public access to public information and you and your colleagues are fully complying with the law. If meaningful and timely public access is being achieved in your area, share your local government’s web portal with us to inspire others to take action. Here are some very successful examples:

Make sure your meetings are fully accessible to the public.  Public meetings must be publically noticed so everyone has adequate and timely information in order to participate.  Public meetings must be conducted in a manner that allows for fair and open consideration of public issues, including:

  • the agenda known well in advance,
  • information supporting the agenda items available well in advance,
  • proper procedures, such as Roberts’ Rule of Order, are followed,
  • conflicts of interest are fully disclosed and officials recuses themselves,
  • the meeting is held at a time that maximizes public participation, such as an evening meeting in communities with many commuters,
  • adequate time is set aside for the public to comment on pending matters,
  • the meeting is broadcast, webcast, and the video permanently archived on an official website.

If meaningful and timely public participation is being achieved in your jurisdiction, then share your local government’s web portal with us to inspire others to take action.  Here are some very successful examples:

  • Realize that your primary duty is to uphold the law [which you swear your oath to] and be true to the citizens you serve.
  • Your tenure will be marked by how well you support a healthy civic culture, regardless of party affiliation.  Remember, no one party has “cornered the market” on helping or hurting America.  At the local level, basic services [first responders, libraries, parks, utilities, roads] are not partisan issues.
  • The rule of law, accountability, and effectiveness should always “trump” partisanship.

As a Teacher

  • Make sure civics is taught in your school as a requirement to graduate.
  • Make sure civics is taught in a manner that actually prepares young people to become effective citizens.  This means moving civics beyond knowledge to application.  Make sure students understand that civics is learning the exercise of Practical Political Power.
  • Reach out to the community to expand the resources and relevance of your civics curriculum.  Ask local officials, journalists, and activists, to speak to your classes about their experiences.  Field trips to local government and community agencies are important ways to bring civics alive and show its impact in our daily lives.
  • Incorporate news stories into your classroom discussions.  Have students share news stories that are important to them and facilitate discussion about how civics plays a role in that story.
  • Encourage critical thinking and debate.  Find ways for students to look beyond the headlines and the editorials to discover underlying themes and trends.
  • Employ simulations and games to put “civics in motion”.  Develop ways for students to explore and test the practical applications of civics.Require students to volunteer with local service, advocacy, or political groups as part of learning civics as the exercise of Practical Political Power.
  • Weave civics into other classes:
    • Civics provides insights into the “how and why” behind the “what and when” of history. Finds ways to help students realize that past events provide timeless insights and lessons we can apply today.
    • Civics provides a clear bottomline for why English is important – the most effective leaders (in both the public and private sectors) master the art of communicating their ideas to convert and motivate people through both the spoken and written word.  Help students understand how film, the web, and social media are impacting public policy.
  • Start a debate and forensics club at your school.  Learning how to express yourself and to understand both sides of an issue are fundamental life skills. Visit the National Forensic League for more information.

Please share successful civics programs with us to inspire others to take action.  Here are some very successful examples.

As an Individual

  • Become a speaker at your local public, private, parochial, and home school. Help teachers explain the relevance of their civics curriculum.  Share your experiences as a local official or activist.  Host field trips to local government and community agencies so students understand their impact in our day-to-day lives.
  • Establish an online community forum to share information and ideas.  If one already exists in your area, then (1) participate, (2) recruit others to participate, and (3) share your forum with us to inspire others to take action. Here are some very successful examples:
  • Establish an online community information portal to archive and share local ordinances, regulations, processes, and documents.  Also include relevant legal rulings.  One of the great challenges for community activists is there is rarely “institutional memory”.  As a result, much precious volunteer time is spent relearning processes, players, and precedents.  There is always a “back story” to every local issue, and that information will not be in the public record or the news media. If one already exists in your area, then (1) participate, (2) recruit others to participate, and (3) share your web portal with us to inspire others to take action.  Here are some very successful examples:
  • Demand local governments make public information truly public.  This means making sure government entities post all their public documents on the web, and making them keyword searchable.  Ask your local government officials (town, county, school board) to create a citizens’ advisory board to make sure public information is available and user-friendly.  Make sure there is a “sunshine” act that requires public access to public information and that local officials are fully complying with the law.
  • Demand local governments be fully accessible to the public.  Public meetings must be announced online by governmental entities so everyone has adequate and timely information in order to participate.  Public meetings must be conducted in a manner that allows for fair and open consideration of public issues, including:
    • the agenda known well in advance,
    • information on some of the pros and cons of the agenda items available well in advance,
    • proper procedures, such as Roberts’ Rule of Order, are followed,
    • conflicts of interest are fully disclosed and officials recuses,
    • the meeting is held at a time that maximizes public participation, such as an evening meeting in communities with many commuters,
    • adequate time is set aside for the public to comment on pending matters,
    • the meeting is broadcast, webcast, and the video permanently archived on an official website
    • minutes and votes are quickly posted online.  Lists of all votes would be very helpful for local government, where fewer monitory groups exist than nationally.
    • If meaningful and timely public participation is being achieved in your area, then (1) participate, (2) recruit others to participate, and (3) share your local government’s web portal with us to inspire others to take action.
    • Make sure your state prohibits “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” [SLAPP].  If SLAPP is allowed, then push your state legislators to pass Anti-SLAPP legislation. The First Amendment is vital to holding our public officials and our public processes accountable.
    • Recruit and campaign for local candidates who support a healthy civic culture, regardless of party affiliation.  No one party has “cornered the market” on helping or hurting America.  At the local level, basic services [first responders, libraries, parks, utilities, roads] are not partisan issues.  The rule of law, accountability, and effectiveness should always “trump” partisanship.
    • Make sure your local governments announce clearly which staff to go to for each subject, from barking dogs to water quality. Make sure staff have time and are just as helpful to concerned citizens as to applicants, and inform the public early when they consider new policies and major applications.
    • Make sure your local government posts its budget and spending online in understandable detail, generally broken into categories of 5%-10% of the total, neither mind-numbing detail, nor big totals hiding the story. For example if schools or police take 60% of the budget, break them into 6-12 sub-categories by region, grade level, or other important category.