Public Media Expands Civic Education Programs

July 1, 2024

The Fourth of July commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Traditional festivities honoring the history, government, and traditions of the United States include the annual A Capitol Fourth concert and fireworks broadcast from the U.S. Capitol on PBS with support from CPB.

Leading up to the nation’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2026, public media is expanding its wide range of programs, events, and educational resources for civic learning to teach children and lifelong learners about American citizenship, our democracy, and the fundamentals of our government.

Here is a sampling of upcoming, current, and ongoing programming, most supported by CPB, affirming public media’s role in providing trusted news and educational content contributing to civic life. 

For Young Learners

Together We Can, a series of 20 live-action music videos for children ages 4 to 8 created by Sesame Workshop and premiering on all PBS KIDS platforms, will cover civics topics such as the importance of rules and rights, voting, symbols of democracy and our Constitution. The series launches on PBS KIDS digital platforms on July 3.

“Let’s Vote,” a City Island Sings video, pays tribute to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

City Island and the music video spinoff, City Island Sings!, are animated, short-form PBS KIDS video series set in a living city where all objects—including mailboxes, lamp posts, cars, and more—are characters who show how people in a community work together to make decisions and solve problems. Season 2 of City Island premieres July 5 on PBS KIDS. City Island Sings! music videos are available now. 

Rosie’s Rules, an animated series for preschoolers starring Rosie Fuentes, a 5-year-old girl in a blended family in Texas, provides children ages 3 to 6 with social studies lessons about how a community works, helping them develop awareness of themselves as individuals and as part of a broader society.

For Students and Lifelong Learners

Civics 101 podcast: Civics 101, from New Hampshire Public Radio, is a podcast about how our democracy works. It explores topical issues related to civics, such as what is the difference between the House and the Senate? How do landmark Supreme Court decisions affect our lives? 

GBH’s U.S. History Collection is an award-winning, comprehensive compilation of 400 media-rich digital learning resources for teaching U.S. history to students grades 6-12. GBH developed the collection for PBS LearningMedia, a free library of more than 30,000 resources designed to supplement classroom instruction, aligned to state and national curriculum standards.

GBH will launch a comprehensive Civics Collection on PBS LearningMedia in August 2024 to help teach middle and high school students about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, the founding principles of our constitution, and explore issues of government policy and decision-making.

A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy is a one-hour PBS program, hosted by Hari Sreenivasan and based on a book by Richard Haass, exploring the habits of good citizens. It is part of the WNET Group’s Preserving Democracy initiative, which includes a digital series on the 10 habits of good citizens.  


Deborah and Larry took One Small Step toward mutual understanding in Fresno, CA.

StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative, launched six years ago with CPB support, pairs strangers from opposite sides of the political spectrum for civil conversations under the premise that it’s hard to hate up close. StoryCorps has spent years testing the premise that we can build political civility by connecting people of differing political viewpoints to share common ground. On July 1, it launched One Small Step America to scale the program nationally, making it possible for anyone, anywhere in the country, to participate in a One Small Step conversation by visiting 

Civic Spark: In partnership with More Perfect, CPB is funding a short-form digital content and engagement initiative that will ask Americans from all walks of life the question: “What’s your Civic Spark?” Americans will share the defining moment or experience that awakened the realization that they could make a difference through public service and community engagement. Local public radio and television stations will create, capture, and amplify local “civic sparks.” CPB has issued a Request for Proposals for a public media station to lead “Civic Spark.” The lead station will be announced this fall, with short-form videos anticipated for the country’s 250th anniversary in 2026.

Talking Sense, a partnership created by Minnesota Public Radio News and Braver Angels, is an online and in-person platform initiative to help Minnesotans navigate challenging political conversations in a way that’s aimed at preserving relationships.

News and Information

WFYI in Indianapolis leads America Amplified Election 2024, aimed at helping public media stations across the country ensure that their audiences and communities get the information they need to participate in local, state, and federal elections. More than 50 stations reaching audiences in all 50 states are using America Amplified tools and strategies to respond to public questions and inform voters about the 2024 voting process. 

PBS News and NPR offer comprehensive and balanced coverage of the American political process, including the 2024 Republican and Democratic Presidential primaries, conventions, and general election, and Congressional and gubernatorial races across the country, with reporting and analysis from Washington and in the field. Washington Week With the Atlantic provides insightful primetime news and analysis each week. 

Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads: PBS News Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff explores the forces driving Americans apart and asks people from across the country and all political persuasions what might be done to reverse these trends. This series airs as part of the CPB-supported PBS News Hour and as stand-alone specials.

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