The U.S. Census Bureau has launched an aggressive campaign to get school children to influence their parents to participate in the 2010 Census. This is part of a $13 billion national public information effort, and will reach about 56 million students in 118,000 schools. The plan is to disseminate posters, maps, teaching guides and lesson plans to every school in the nation. Schools will have a Census Week shortly before the Census questionnaires are delivered to residential addresses this month. During Census Week, teachers will spend 15 minutes each day talking about civic participation. Extensive lesson plans for grades K-12 are designed to integrate census-related information into subjects such as history and math. The aim is to persuade children to persuade their families to be sure and fill out the census information. Teachers will emphasize the benefits of Census participation. Census population counts will determine how many Members of Congress each state will have in Congress and how much federal money each congressional District will get.
This census project is aimed particularly at households that don't speak English. A Chicago alderman told the press that “if a parent is unable to complete the census form, a student could fill it out since there are only 10 questions.” Low-income families that don't speak English well and are otherwise hard-to-count are a special target of the Census campaign. Take-home materials provided by the Census Bureau include materials translated into 28 languages. Census officials are also providing preschoolers with training in how to encourage their parents to participate in the census. Children at one elementary school in Florida performed a skit as part of a Census kick-off event. The skit portrayed a child who persuaded his family to allow a census worker into their home and help them fill out the form.
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