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Civic Engagement and Education in Idaho

Idaho Public Television is committed to building civic literacy and citizenship in our state. One way to do that is to showcase state and national efforts to break down political and social polarization, to model constructive conversations and to promote civic literacy and civil dialogue.

Civic literacy reflects our ability to stay informed, to understand the ways information is shared as well as manipulated, to be familiar with the working of our government and society, and to know the rights and responsibilities we all have as citizens. It’s about having the tools to be full participants in a democracy.

Civil dialogue is not about being polite. It means engaging in conversations on topics that are important to us, sharing our views and listening to others’ views in honest and productive ways. 

PBS Elections and Civics

As the nation’s most trusted news source and leader in local journalism, PBS and its member stations have the unique ability to cover elections and civics from all perspectives.

Idaho Listens

What happens when people decide to stop arguing and start listening? Philanthropist Greg Carr and Boise State University wanted to find a way to encourage people to engage in respectful listening, to get to know each other beyond labels or superficial impressions.

Eleven ordinary Idahoans came to the BSU campus in fall 2022 to share stories about their lives in Idaho, and the audience had to agree to listen without interruption, without questions, without cheers or jeers. IdahoPTV documented the Idaho Listens project, and what the Idaho “listeners” took away from the project. 

  • More on Idaho Listens and the Institute for Advancing American Values HERE
  • See the full Sept. 24, 2022 Idaho Listens event HERE
  • Watch the Feb. 9, 2023 Boise State Listens event HERE

CIV•ED | A Guide to Idaho Politics and Civic Engagement 

The State Budget


When you pay your state taxes, that money helps pay for government programs and services.

How a Bill becomes a Law in Idaho


Once a year, the Idaho Legislature comes together for its annual legislative session.

The Role of the Media


The media helps inform you about government officials and decisions that affect your life.

Public Participation in Idaho Government


Of everyone involved in government, it’s the public that has the most important role.

Documentaries

A Brief But Spectacular take on telling the whole story


David Bornstein is co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, a group that works with news organizations to produce rigorous reporting on responses to social problems. The goal is to “rebalance the news” to provide people a sense of investment and communities with the information they need to participate in a healthy democracy.  Here's his Brief But Spectacular take on telling the whole story.

Nothing But the Truth


In Idaho's early days, disputes were settled by knives, guns and fists. It took a few zealous advocates to ensure that the rule of law prevailed over vigilantism in the 1800s. Idaho Experience's "Nothing But the Truth" explores the power of truth, justice and fact-finding. 

Beyond Civility


Following civility projects in 2016, Boise City Club and Boise State University found that there is no shortage of Idaho people and groups who are finding ways to converse and engage across political and personal divisions."Beyond Civility," is an Idaho Public Television documentary on an Idaho civil discourse project in 2016-2018.

Michael Flynn's Holy War


How did Michael Flynn go from being an elite soldier overseas to waging a “spiritual war” in America? FRONTLINE examines how the retired three-star general has emerged as a leader in a far-right movement that puts its brand of Christianity at the center of American civic life & institutions.

Clarence and Ginni Thomas


As controversy erupts around Clarence and Ginni Thomas, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of their path to power. 

Pursuing a More Perfect Union


Follow the pursuit of democracy from the Revolutionary War through recurring cycles of civil rights progress and backlash, the 2021 Capitol riot and beyond.

A Citizen's Guide to Preserving Democracy


Explore real-life examples of Americans who are working towards strengthening democracy and renewing the spirit of a more informed and engaged citizenry.

Lies, Politics and Democracy

Lies, Politics, and Democracy


FRONTLINE examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence.

Educational Materials

VoteIdaho.gov

The Idaho Secretary of State's office provides official voter information to the citizens of Idaho at VoteIdaho.gov

CITY ISLAND is a new series of animated digital shorts for early elementary school-aged children on PBS KIDS. 

These new shorts will feature a civics curriculum, highlighting topics like cooperation, conflict resolution, and city planning, helping to foster young viewers’ understanding of how cities and communities work.

View the City Island collection on PBS LearningMedia.

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CIV ED: A Guide to Idaho Politics and Civic Engagement is a free collection of videos and teacher-created classroom materials for grades 6-12 published by Idaho Public Television on the PBS LearningMedia education platform. We explore public participation in the state government, how bills become Idaho law, Idaho's Constitution, taxes and the Idaho state budget, and the role of media in Idaho.


NOVA

NOVA: Misinformation Nation  

Learn the science behind why misinformation is shared, why it's believed and what we can do to address its spread across digital media. Use this collection to help prepare students to be critical consumers of science content and to make informed judgements about the science media they encounter.

What the Vote! (WTV!) is an entirely volunteer organization comprised of community partners who are passionate about reaching out to high school and college students to inspire them to engage in democracy.  Non-partisan messages are intended to make the voting process easier for students by demonstrating how to become an informed voter, registering them to vote and exciting them about the impact their vote can have on their daily lives. 

Media Literacy

As educators, we know that young people need new skills to navigate the modern media landscape. The PBS Media Literacy Certification by KQED recognizes PreK-12 educators who demonstrate their ability to teach students to think critically about media consumption and creation. This certification allows educators to demonstrate expertise in teaching students to produce media that matters and to think critically about their role as media consumers. The course helps teachers as they progress through the certification process, offering ideas, strategies and support. Teachers who complete the certification can earn 3 PD credits through Idaho State University. 

This online course is offered synchronously and asynchronously. Attendees meet virtually with instructors for one hour every month from September through May. We will also record the webinars for educators to watch when convenient if this is the method that they prefer. 

Idaho Teachers with PBS Media Literacy Certification
 

Jenna Club

Amanda Nemes

Michelle Devine

Jasmine Quezada

Beth Faddick

Matt Stutzman

Kelly Gissel

La Donna Tuinstra

Amy Griffin

Olivia Whitsel

Tara Haley

Rodney Wray

Sean Kane

Erika Damasco Zapata

April Peterson

 

 

Idaho Debates

The Idaho Debates

The Idaho Debates is a collaborative effort among the Idaho Press Club, Boise State University’s School of Public Service, University of Idaho’s McClure Center, Idaho State University’s Department of Political Science, League of Women Voters’ Voter Education Fund, and Idaho Public Television. Our goal is to give the public an unbiased platform to hear the views of congressional candidates on the ballot. We do not support or oppose political parties or candidates.

Stay informed with in-depth reporting on the news and issues that affect you with Idaho Reports. Learn more at idahoptv.org/idahoreports.

Additional Information

Transparent Idaho

Transparent Idaho was created to increase citizens’ trust in their government by providing state government financial data in an online, searchable format. In 2019, the newest iteration of Transparent Idaho was released to provide an intuitive user interface, greater accessibility features, and increased search functionality. 

Townhall Idaho

In partnership with Governor Little, the Idaho State Controller’s Office released a state public meeting notice portal titled Townhall Idaho. The goal of Townhall Idaho is to make it easier for the public to understand and engage in their government by offering an online one-stop-shop for accessing public meeting information for state executive agencies.