BGEC civic students place in the top three for district Project Citizen
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Bob Graham Education Center’s seventh grade law studies class was selected as one of the top three schools in the District’s Project Citizen Competition.
Project Citizen is a program that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. The program helps participants learn how to monitor and influence public policy.
The BGEC project went on to the Capitol Showcase in Tallahassee and will continue to represent the school in the state competition on May 26. The students’ project, “Rising Above, Sunny Day Floods” looks to find solutions to nuisance flooding on Florida’s coasts due to rising sea levels.
Nuisance flooding occurs when sea levels rise above the mouth of storm drain outages, and the water is pushed in the opposite direction back through the sewers and into the city streets, even though storm sewer drains are designed to flush rain water out into the ocean. This usually occurs a couple seasons out of the year with the exceptionally high spring or king tides.
Lately, water has been increasingly flooding coastal streets on dry, sunny days due to this phenomenon. The rising seas are contributing to this. However, it is the government’s responsibility to address decaying infrastructure and transportation issues that arise with these nuisance floods.
The students are proposing a Hazard Mitigation Fee for coastal developers who choose to build on the coastal cities affected by sunny day floods in order to help fund mitigation projects related to the flooding.
The entire class worked cooperatively to identify the public policy problem that needed to be addressed, did lengthy research on the problem, evaluated alternative solutions, developed their own solution in the form of a public policy, and created a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy.
Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid visited the class to give his ideas and discuss public policy. The class also visited with Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Rebecca Sosa, to discuss the topic and gain insight. This project has allowed the students to experience the real life process of policy making in government.