Why Participatory Budgeting is the foundation of our offerings
PB is pretty magical. In one powerful tool, our children learn the “Four Cs” of modern education: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, jumpstarting their path to financial literacy.
I don’t know of a more effective teaching tool.
How Participatory Budgeting teaches civics
The values on which democratic societies are based are crumbling. A root cause is that we’re no longer teaching civics — the art and practice of being a good citizen.
This is a structural problem, requiring a structural solution.
Within a school, PB motivates students to move from “me” thinking to “we” thinking: Not what is right for me, or what do I want, but what is right for the group, or what do we want? This perspective shift opens the door for empathy and solutions that improve the school for all stakeholders.
For example, our platform gives students the option to fund a participatory budgeting program in another school. Children in the originating school cannot tell the other children how to spend that money; they simply support them in creating their own program.
In addition to supporting other schools, children from different schools can collaborate to fund proposals that benefit the larger com munity. For example, students in one school may propose a new bus line that would improve safety and serve the community better. Students from multiple schools could support this proposal, substantially increasing its chance for success.
Together, these approaches create a breakthrough in civics.
Don’t be surprised: students make good choices
One concern adults share when considering PB is their worry about the choices the students will make. What causes this? My best guess is that adults are overly influenced by movies in which kids throw wild parties when their parents go on vacation, so they imagine that students will be irresponsible with their budgets.
The best way to address these concerns is to look at the choices students have made in past projects, as there is a rich history of students making excellent choices using PB. Here are a few examples from completed PB programs.