MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The U.S. Census Bureau is giving a homework assignment to schoolchildren across the country: Tell your parents to fill out the census form. Your school's funding depends on it.

Census officials launched a nationwide program Monday that uses schools to encourage participation in the once-per-decade head count.

Hundreds of students from Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee, gathered at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and participated in activities teaching them the importance of the census and convincing them to tell their parents that filling out the form will determine how much money their schools will get from the government for computers, after-school activities, meals and other resources.

As part of the Statistics in Schools program, students will get a letter to take home to their parents explaining the census.

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