Close Up works closely with teachers, administrators, parents and students nationwide, as well with longstanding partners and funders such as the Congress, the Department of Education, the Department of Interior, the Freedom Forum, C-SPAN, the Center on Congress and Bank of America.
We fulfill our mission mainly by providing challenging, hands-on civic education programs for students and teachers in Washington, D.C. These programs are known for their positive impact on student attitudes and for giving teachers valuable insights to take back to classrooms nationwide. Using the nation’s capital as a living classroom, participants get a “close up” view of government and democracy in action. They return to their communities confident to play meaningful roles. Our grads also qualify to earn credit at leading schools such as University of Virginia and Indiana University.
Our diverse services include programs for middle schools and high schools, as well as programs for constituencies such as Native Americans, New Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Summer programs include a College Prep series and a July 4th program that connects the founding documents to today's citizens. During the academic year, teachers typically travel with their students and participate on our unique teacher program, sharing “best practices” with peers. During the summer, students typically come on their own or in small groups to participate on accelerated and theme-based programs.
Over the past four decades, Close Up has developed a teaching method that appeals to virtually all types of students and that is delivered by our well-trained faculty. We believe this is a major reason why 94% of alums say that Close Up helped them better understand their roles as citizens. Our 650,000 alums come from all walks of life as well as every state, every territory, and several countries. Many of our teachers and students fundraise to attend; others attend thanks to the generosity of private and public funders such as the U.S. Congress, which has provided need-based fellowships every year since our inception.
We also fulfill our mission through classroom teaching tools. The most notable is “Current Issues.” This annual textbook, now in its 33rd edition, is relied on by teachers nationwide to stimulate student debate on key policy issues. We also have produced hundreds of TV shows that appeared on C-SPAN for over 30 years and that feature Close Up students dialoguing with U.S. presidents, lawmakers, and the media.
Democracy is government for the people by the people. At Close Up, we complement what teachers do in classrooms nationwide so that our young people will play informed and active roles in making the world a better place to live.