The 2020 U.S. Census is here.
As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the federal Census Bureau conducts a nationwide population count once every 10 years. This is one of the few national activities the American public does together. It’s also easy, confidential and critically important to our students and their communities.
Our current circumstances show just how resources from the national government are important for the health and well-being of everyone. Along with establishing the number of congressional seats and electoral votes for each state, census data serves as the basis for deciding how approximately $900 billion in federal funds are spent annually, impacting education, housing, public safety and other vital services.
These anonymous statistics also enable local governments to make highly consequential decisions about public safety, including staffing police and fire stations, and they help school districts plan for enrollment shifts. Despite all that’s at stake, our state is expected to lose about $1,950 per person in annual federal funding as a result of undercounting.
The Orange County Department of Education is providing some resources for teachers and community leaders to help spread the word about the importance of the Census, including:
- A repository of sample letters in various languages. Leaders, liaisons and teachers can use these to communicate to families that the Census is happening now and is important. Individuals can respond online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020.
- A comprehensive collection of resources. Graphics, fliers, posters and fact sheets can be found here.
- A school-based toolkit. This link includes sample news releases, board resolutions and social media posts for schools and districts.
- History/social science lessons for teachers. These include inquiry lessons for grades five, eight, 11 and 12, along with a guide to help students create their own action and awareness campaigns.
- English, math and other subject area lessons. For teachers who want to ask students to create a Census project, there’s also this social media toolkit and an accompanying guidebook that might be helpful.
OCDE is asking teachers who share resources with families or teach lessons tied to the U.S. Census to take a moment to complete this brief survey outlining how you supported the 2020 count.