The 2020 U.S. Census count is underway.
As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the federal Census Bureau conducts a nationwide population count once every 10 years. It’s one of the few national activities the American public does together. It’s also easy, confidential and critically important to students and their communities.
The COVID-19 emergency shows just how important accurate census data can be. Consider that these anonymous statistics enable local governments to make highly consequential decisions about public safety, including staffing police and fire stations.
They also set the number of congressional seats and electoral votes for each state, and they help school districts plan for enrollment shifts.
Despite all that’s at stake, California is expected to lose about $1,950 per person in annual federal funding as a result of undercounting. But a number of organizations are seeking to change that, including OCDE, which has curated this batch of resources to help teachers and community leaders spread the word:
- A repository of letters in various languages, presentations in various languages and robo calls in various languages (recording and scripts) to explain how to participate and the importance of the census.
- A comprehensive collection of resources, including graphics, fliers, posters and fact sheets.
- A school-based toolkit with sample news releases, board resolutions and social media posts for schools and districts, as well as a webinar to help educators encourage census participation.
- History/social science lessons for teachers, including 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. And 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.
- Student-created social media graphics to raise awareness and support student creativity and engagement.
- Information about 2020 Census jobs, including temporary and part-time positions.
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.