Close Up Foundation
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|Motto||"Informs, inspires, and empowers young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy"|
|Founder||Stephen A. Janger|
|Type||Nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization|
|Headquarters||Alexandria, VA, United States|
President and CEO
|Timothy S. Davis, Esq.|
The Close Up Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic education organization in Washington, D.C. Established in 1971, Close Up offers impactful, hands-on programming to educate and inspire young people to participate in their government. To date, more than 850,000 students and teachers from around the world have participated in its programs.
After taking a group of American students abroad to study foreign government, Close Up founder and former State Department official Stephen A. Janger (1936-2015) noticed growing cynicism and critique of the American government among young people. As the events of the 1960s unfolded, Janger became determined to help students gain a better understanding of their own government. With the help of his wife Kathie and his brother Stanford, Janger founded the Close Up Foundation in 1971. During its first year, Close Up experienced the success of its first Washington High School Program with over 500 student participants from Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas.
For over 45 years, the Close Up Foundation has dedicated itself to inform, inspire, and empower young people to exercise their rights and accept the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy. The Close Up Washington experience uses the nation’s capital as a living classroom where students explore the famous monuments, world-renowned museums and institutions that define America’s past and present. By the end of program, students return to their home communities inspired to engage as citizens and to help make the world a better place.
Close Up is endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), and The Voice of Student & Youth Travel (SYTA).
Close Up programs cater to various high and middle school audiences. Close Up also offers a unique program for New Americans, specialized programs for Native Americans, Teaching American History (TAH) programs for teachers, and a host of theme-based programs that enable participants to benefit from Washington's seasonality. It also offers customized programs for teachers who want to "pick and choose" content to match their school curriculum and degree of difficulty.
A typical day might start as early as 7:00 a.m. and end at 10:00 p.m. Tuition for most programs is all-inclusive and covers room, board, in-town travel, supervision, security and more.
Educators use Close Up programming to enhance classroom learning. Close Up curriculum complements Common Core (C3) Framework.
High School Program
The Washington High School Program aims to build students’ sense of political efficacy. During this six day/five night program students meet with elected officials on Capitol Hill, participate in structured learning activities at Washington’s monuments and memorials, and engage in workshops about how our government works.
Middle School Program
The Washington Middle School Program provides students hands-on opportunities to interact with government and history. During this four day, three night program students explore the links between history and the problems and prospects today. Emphasis will be placed on how the actions of ordinary citizens can directly affect public policy making.
Any teacher or administrator can participate in this accelerated adult-learning program that runs parallel to student programming. The Teacher Program includes study of some of Washington’s lesser known monuments and memorials that provide a forum for educators to share best practices with peers. Upon completion, educators can earn Graduate Credits or Continuing Education Units.
Close Up programs have hosted students and teachers from all 50 states and Abu Dubai, American Samoa, Canada, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Curaçao, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Republic of Palau and the United States Virgin Islands. Many schools send groups to Close Up every year. Additionally, many students decide to attend on their own or with friends. Programs are offered year-round, including summer.
Close Up also serves thousands of teachers and students nationwide though its mix of Washington-based and local, as well as classroom-based learning tools such as publications, lesson plans, TV shows and videos. Its flagship publication is Current Issues. Current Issues is an annual supplemental textbook that provides insightful coverage of public policy topics. Its pro-con format is known for stimulating debate among students and for helping students appreciate multiple points of view.
Notable Program Components
- Capitol Hill Day – Students and their teachers spend the day on Capitol Hill meeting with offices of their Congressional delegation. Students also get the opportunity to visit other sites on Capitol Hill, like the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Capitol Visitors Center, as well as the House and Senate chambers.
- Mock Congress – Prior to “Hill Day,” students participate in this large group activity that utilizes mock legislative bills on current policy controversies and issues to help students better understand how the legislative process works through simulation.
- Current Issues Debate – Students will deliberate upon available policy options and consider how the government should weigh and act on competing priorities.
- Domestic Issues Debate – Students explore a variety of current controversial domestic issues during this large question-and-answer session with two professionals from both a liberal and conservative background.
Notable Partnership Programs
- American Civil Liberties Union: ACLU Summer Advocacy Summit
- Bank of America: The Student Leadership Summit
- The Allstate Foundation: Teen Safe Driving Policy Summit
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota & Florida Foundations: Students Building Healthy Communities
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute: Young Latino Leaders in Washington
- Deloitte Services: Operation Next Generation
Current members of Congress:
- Senator James Lankford (R-OK)
- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
- Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT)
- Representative David Cicilline (D-RI)
- Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
- Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
- Representative Adam Smith (D-WA)
- Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO)
- Representative Tim Walz (D-MN)
Former members of Congress:
- Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
- Senator David Vitter (R-LA)
- Representative Joe Garcia (R-FL)
- Representative Betty Sutton (D-OH)
Other government officials:
- Rosa Gumataotao Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States
- Sean Spicer, 30th White House press secretary
- Vuoto, Loredana (27 April 2009). "Close Up Foundation attracts students to D.C." The Washington Times. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- "Close Up Foundation gets $1M Interior grant". Saipan Tribune. 18 November 2009. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Close Up Foundation
- 35th Anniversary of Close Up on C-SPAN
- Washington Post profile of Close Up
- Congressional Record recognizing the 25th anniversary of Close Up
- Library of C-SPAN Close Up videos
- Close Up Foundation session with President Reagan
- Close Up students, from Oklahoma, look under the fractured hood of democracy