Patricia A. O'Malley

Social Policy & Programs Consulting

Training and Services for agencies working toward social and economic justice

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
P.O. Box 97803    ~    Pittsburgh, PA  15227   ~    412-310-4886    ~
Copyright Patricia A. O'Malley    ~    All rights reserved
Established 1993

Civics is

the study
of the structure and function
of government,
and the rights and duties
of citizens.

  • It looks at the ways that our governments are organized, how they're supposed to work, and how they really do work.

  • Civics is an essential, but neglected, area of our education. 

  • The government operates by a set of rules.  

  • We have the right and responsibility to participate in our government. 
  • However, we can't participate fully if we don't know those rules.

I've been writing Community Matters since 2008.
Here are my most recent articles.

Public Demonstrations Do Bring Change

We can't make progress without them.

Many Americans think that mass public demonstrations began in the 1960s.  Actually, they’ve been around for hundreds of years, and they’re familiar throughout the world.  Demonstrations are a necessary ingredient for social evolution.  No significant social, economic, or political change has ever happened anywhere in the world without some form of protest or demonstration. 

​US Supreme Court Session Opens​

The first Monday in October.

On October 1, the US Supreme Court opened its 229th annual session quietly, with no fanfare.  Hardly anyone noticed.  Federal law requires the court to open on the first Monday in October.  Each session usually ends in late June or early July.  It’s the least obtrusive, but often most powerful, of our three branches of government.

Political Ignorance Breeds Political Impotence.


The same old issues keep re-appearing on our political landscape.

This is an update on a recurring issue.


​Defective Teaching Methods Produce American Political Ignorance
What’s wrong with our civics education and how to fix it.

Civics courses are supposed to teach how our government works in real life.  Americans' anger at government has been growing for 30 years.  We've seen griping, grumbling, ranting, and raving about government's size and its role in our lives.  False information causes much of the noise.  Civil, healthy debate is valuable, but it's impossible when the participants are uneducated.  

Navigating the Bureaucracy

Ten tips to make it easier and faster.

Bureaucracy. We cringe when we hear it.  We imagine miles of red tape, standing in line, sitting on hold, or bouncing from one apathetic clerk to another for hours.  You’re adrift, and no one cares.  But there are tricks to navigating those waters more quickly, and with better results.

These essays do what our schools fail to do.
They teach civics properly.
It's not your boring high school civics class.
Pat uses current events and the U.S. Constitution to explain what's happening, and why.
​With these tools, you can better understand current events, 
be an informed voter, and influence your government officials.
You can help make the world be what you want it to be.

 ​America will work for you

when you know how to make it work.
American politics are in turmoil because most Americans don't understand how their government works.

Those who understand how government 
works know how to influence it. 
Through Community Matters, I use the U.S. Constitution and current events to teach American government – civics.
I don't report the news.  I explain it.