Kids Voting Missouri (KVMO) is an affiliate of Kids Voting USA®, a national non-profit, nonpartisan voter education program. The program promotes voter participation and education by educating America's youth about the importance of being an informed and engaged citizen.
Beginning with the Ritneour School District in 1996, Kids Voting Missouri has grown to become one of the best and largest youth voter programs in the country. Since 1996, more than 1.8 million K-12 St. Louis area youth have had an opportunity to learn about elections and voting and about 62%, or almost 1,108,000 K-12 students have actually cast a Kids Voting Missouri ballot.
Under a license granted by Kids Voting USA®, the Citizenship Education Clearing House or "CECH" serves as the central administrative agency for Kids Voting Missouri (KVMO), via the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education at UMSL. KVMO is administered by the University of Missouri-St. Louis through its Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH) in the College of Education at UMSL.
KIDS VOTING IS UNIQUE!
This program is one of the only programs in the country that virtually replicates the adult voting process. Kids Voting is authentic, exciting, and provides a real-life experience for its participating students. Students learn about the candidates and issues, engage in research and lively debate, simulate the voter registration process, and then actually vote for many of the same candidates and issues on or near Election Day.
CECH (Citizenship Education Clearing House)
A pioneer in civic education, CECH has been teaching students the "political ropes" since the 1960s. Originally an independent non-profit corporation, CECH became part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education in 1993. Historically, CECH's programs have targeted middle and high schools and have sought to give students an authentic, real-life experience in the political process, with the expectation that "learning the system" will encourage them to participate in politics when they become adults.
In addition to Kids Voting Missouri, CECH's other major school-based initiative is a local government program called MY LOGO (Missouri Youth Engaged in Local Government). This program aims to teach students about local government and involves them in problem solving activities. (For example, Parkway students in 2000 successfully advocated for a bicycle helmet ordinance in Creve Coeur).
CECH's DIRECTOR & STAFF:
Since 1994 when CECH joined UMSL, CECH has been under the leadership of the Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education through its College of Education. CECH's most recent Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education, Dr. Wolfgang Althof, retired from UMSL in September 2018. During his tenure at the University, Dr. Althof served for 14 years as Executive Director of CECH and was co-founder of UMSL's Center for Character and Citizenship (www.characterandcitizenship.org/). The College of Education at UMSL is currently conducting a nationwide search for the next Teresa M. Fischer Endowed Professor of Citizenship Education.
Sandy Diamond (M.Ed., Secondary Social Studies with an emphasis in Constitutional History, UMSL and a B.S in Secondary Education with a comprehensive degree in Social Studies, University of Missouri) is the Program Coordinator for both Kids Voting Missouri and MY LOGO--Missouri Youth Engaged in Local Government-CECH's two current civic education programs. Diamond joined UMSL and Kids Voting Missouri in 1999. Sandy is the former Newspapers in Education (NIE) Coordinator for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [1978-1991] and also taught Civics in the Hazelwood School District. Diamond has won awards from the Missouri Bar (2006 Civic Virtue Award), Kids Voting USA's (2006 Program Excellence Award), St. Louis Bar Association Foundation (2010), and recently from the Citzenship Education Clearing House (CECH) Board for her life-time work in civic education. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, Sandy is completing her 20th year at UMSL.
Center for Character and Citizenship.
In April 2006, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and College of Education launched a new center aimed at inspiring more research and dialogue in Character and Citizenship education. Named The Center for Character and Citizenship, the CCC is an organizational framework and collaborative venue for scholars and educators interested in character education for character development and democratic citizenship. Scholars in the center conduct research and examine trends and practices in character and citizenship education. The ultimate goal is to influence and address ethical behavior and civic engagement by K-12 students. In addition to its focus on research, the center offers professional development, leadership training and consulting services to educators. Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, the Sanford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education at UMSL serves as the co-director of the Center. For more information see www.characterandcitizenship.org/