Center Materials Featured in “Remembering Injustice” from California State University

Mar 13, 2019 / E-news

As part of its Expository Writing and Reading Curriculum (ERWC), California State University is publishing a module called “Remembering Injustice” using materials from the Center for Civic Education.
The ERWC offers high school English students and teacher tools to use “rhetorical inquiry to encourage critical thinking,” and “students learn strategies that help them thrive in college.” The “Remembering Injustice” module will work towards this goal, offering a college-preparatory course in English Language Arts for teachers and students in grade nine. It is free to participating high schools, who build and personalize a year-long course for their students by choosing from a selection of approximately 81 modules.
The Remembering Injustice module will be available until 2020.

As part of its Expository Writing and Reading Curriculum (ERWC), California State University is publishing a module called “Remembering Injustice” using materials from the Center for Civic Education.

The ERWC offers high school English students and teacher tools to use “rhetorical inquiry to encourage critical thinking,” and “students learn strategies that help them thrive in college.” The “Remembering Injustice” module will work towards this goal, offering a college-preparatory course in English Language Arts for teachers and students in grade nine.

It is free to participating high schools, who build and personalize a year-long course for their students by choosing from a selection of approximately 81 modules. The Remembering Injustice module will be available until 2020.

The module highlights a resource that is freely available on the Center for Civic Education website, that defines and explains important terms to know that are related to the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. Explore the Center’s Resources page to find more tools and free lessons!

Wyoming We the People State Competition Sends Two Teams to National Finals

Mar 13, 2019 / E-news

“Over the past few months the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Competitions have taken place throughout the nation. One such competition took place on Monday, February 11th, the Wyoming We People Program conducted the 2019 State Finals. After an exciting day of simulated congressional hearings, Jackson High School (Jim Rooks) won their first championship and Cheyenne Central High School (Tom Bradley) finished in second place.  These schools will advance to the national finals to be held in Washington, D.C. at the end of April.
The Wyoming We the People program headed by Matt Strannigan, State We the People Coordinator, has conducted these competitions with the generous financial and in-kind support of the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) in Wyoming, the Craig and Susan Foundation, Wyoming State Supreme Court Justices, the Wyoming State Legislature, and the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, and other contributors.
The John P. Ellbogen Foundation, a longtime supporter of the Wyoming We the People Program, gave John Corbin of Cody High School the John P. Ellbogen Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. The Director for Development at the University of Wyoming Foundation, Tyler Spear stated, “Ellbogen’s commitment to civic education and to the Wyoming We the People program has allowed the program to thrive.  In total, the University of Wyoming is home to a one-million-dollar endowment supporting the program.”
It is in part thanks to these organizations and individuals that this program has positively impacted the educational pathways of many Wyoming students. The generous contributions, both financial and in-kind, of the Ellobogen Foundation mentioned above, as well as others in the state, are a testament of how a community can come together to support a quality education for the benefit of the next generation.
But most importantly, Wyoming We the People is defined by the teachers and students who put an enormous effort and countless hours into their work. Teachers who strive to give a quality civics education and their students who to continue to work towards becoming informed citizens and the leaders of tomorrow.”

Over the past few months, the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution state competitions have taken place throughout the nation. The Wyoming state competition took place on Monday, February 11. After an exciting day of simulated congressional hearings, Jackson High School (led by teacher Jim Rooks) won their first championship and Cheyenne Central High School (led by teacher Tom Bradley) finished in second place. These schools will advance to the National Finals to be held in Washington, D.C. from April 26 to April 29.

The 2019 Wyoming We the People State Champions are Jackson High School.

The 2019 Wyoming We the People State Champions are Jackson High School.

The Wyoming We the People program, headed by Wyoming state coordinator Matt Strannigan, has conducted these competitions with the generous financial and in-kind support of the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) in Wyoming, the Craig and Susan Foundation, Wyoming State Supreme Court Justices, the Wyoming State Legislature, and the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, and other contributors.

The John P. Ellbogen Foundation, a longtime supporter of the Wyoming We the People Program, gave John Corbin of Cody High School the John P. Ellbogen Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. The Director for Development at the University of Wyoming Foundation, Tyler Spear stated, “Ellbogen’s commitment to civic education and to the Wyoming We the People program has allowed the program to thrive. In total, the University of Wyoming is home to a one-million-dollar endowment supporting the program.”

It is in part thanks to these organizations and individuals that this program has positively impacted the educational pathways of many Wyoming students. The generous contributions, both financial and in-kind, of the Ellobogen Foundation mentioned above, as well as others in the state, are a testament of how a community can come together to support a quality education for the benefit of the next generation.

But most importantly, Wyoming We the People is defined by the teachers and students who put an enormous effort and countless hours into their work.  Teachers who strive to give a quality civics education and their students who to continue to work towards becoming informed citizens and the leaders of tomorrow.

California Attorney General Speaks at Thirty-Second Annual State Finals

Mar 12, 2019 / E-news

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (right) at the California We the People State finals in Sacramento in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Cook-Kallio (second from right), who is the California We the People state coordinator.  Also pictured is Ben Glickman (left) and Pauline Weaver (second from left).

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (right) at the California We the People State finals in Sacramento in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Cook-Kallio (second from right), who is the California We the People state coordinator. Also pictured is Ben Glickman (left) and Pauline Weaver (second from left).

California recently held its thirty-second annual We the People State Finals in Sacramento this year, with guest speaker Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General.

Becerra spoke about good government, the protection of constitutional rights, and participatory citizenship—topics that We the People students study extensively in preparation for competition. He also encouraged them to lead and serve in their communities, embodying the principles put forth by the Constitution that they have come to know and understand.
California’s We the People state coordinator, Cheryl Cook-Kallio, noted that “California We the People was thrilled to welcome the Honorable Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, to the thirty-second annual state finals. We want to thank him for his commitment to quality civic education.”
Amador Valley High School will represent California’s We the People programs at the National Finals this year, led by their teacher Stacey Sklar.

This February, California held its thirty-second annual We the People State Finals in Sacramento this year, with guest speaker Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General.

Becerra spoke about good government, the protection of constitutional rights, and participatory citizenship—topics that We the People students study extensively in preparation for competition. He also encouraged them to lead and serve in their communities, embodying the principles put forth by the Constitution that they have come to know and understand.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (right) at the California We the People State finals in Sacramento in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Cook-Kallio (second from right), who is the California We the People state coordinator.  Also pictured is Ben Glickman (left) and Pauline Weaver (second from left).

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (right) at the California We the People State finals in Sacramento in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Cook-Kallio (second from right), who is the California We the People state coordinator. Also pictured is Ben Glickman (left) and Pauline Weaver (second from left).

California’s We the People state coordinator, Cheryl Cook-Kallio, noted that “California We the People was thrilled to welcome the Honorable Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, to the thirty-second annual state finals. We want to thank him for his commitment to quality civic education.”

We the People competitions challenge students to participate in simulated congressional hearings, putting their knowledge into practice. After spending the school year studying the Constitution and the fundamental principles of American representative democracy, students answer questions about American government from knowledgeable community leaders and professionals, such as lawyers, professors, and historians, who serve as competition judges.

Amador Valley High School will represent California’s We the People programs at the National Finals this year, led by their teacher Stacey Sklar. For ongoing updates about the National Finals, follow our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram channels in time for April 26, 2019.

John F. Tinker to Deliver Keynote Address at We the People National Finals

Mar 12, 2019 / E-news

John F. Tinker will speak during the awards ceremony at the We the People National Finals on April 29.
In 1969, Tinker and his sister were two of four students suspended from their school in Iowa for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. These students and their families were petitioners in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines that resulted in a ruling that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
This important precedent, the “Tinker Standard,” is now fifty years old and discourages school administration from punishing students for expressions which are not “materially and substantially” disruptive to the educational environment. Its significance is one of the reasons that We the People students study the case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Unit 5 groups this year will also answer the question:
“It has been fifty years since the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Since Tinker, have the rights of students in public schools been expanded or limited?”
To recognize its fifty-year anniversary, one school will be presented with a special Tinker Award based on its response to this question (Unit 5, Question 3). The award is sponsored by the John F. Tinker Foundation, whose mission is to help to educate students, teachers and school administrators regarding the First Amendment rights of students, and to encourage the discussion of controversial issues across political boundaries.
Don’t forget to tune into Tinker’s speech, which will be broadcast live via the Center’s Facebook page.

John F. Tinker will speak during the awards ceremony at the We the People National Finals on April 29.

In 1969, Tinker and his sister were two of four students suspended from their school in Iowa for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. These students and their families were petitioners in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines that resulted in a ruling that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

John F. Tinker was a petitioner in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines.

John F. Tinker was a petitioner in the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines.

This important precedent, the “Tinker Standard,” is now fifty years old and discourages school administration from punishing students for expressions which are not “materially and substantially” disruptive to the educational environment. Its significance is one of the reasons that We the People students study the case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Unit 5 groups this year will also answer the question:

“It has been fifty years since the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Since Tinker, have the rights of students in public schools been expanded or limited?”

To recognize its fifty-year anniversary, one school will be presented with a special Tinker Award based on its response to this question (Unit 5, Question 3). The award is sponsored by the John F. Tinker Foundation, whose mission is to help to educate students, teachers and school administrators regarding the First Amendment rights of students, and to encourage the discussion of controversial issues across political boundaries.

Don’t forget to tune into Tinker’s speech, which will be broadcast live via the Center’s Facebook page.

We the People State Finals Begin across the Country

Jan 17, 2019 / E-news, We the People

In states across the country, students are competing for a chance to show off their constitutional knowledge in Washington, D.C., this April at the 32nd Annual We the People National Finals!
Mimicking the National Finals, the State Finals challenge students to participate in simulated congressional hearings, putting their constitutional knowledge into practice. After spending the school year studying history and the principles of democracy, students answer questions about American government—its founding, its values, and its structure—knowledgeable leaders and professionals, such as lawyers, professors, and historians, in their communities.
In anticipation of this year’s State Finals, participants study and practice with state hearing questions that address questions about:
Equal vs. proportional representation in Congress
Due process of law
The role of political parties
How contemporary issues are linked with history
Winners of the WTP State Finals have the opportunity to attend the National Finals in Washington, D.C., from April 26-29. Teams can start preparing with the National Finals Hearing Questions when they are posted on January 31.
Are you interested in keeping up with the results of this year’s competitive State Finals? The competition dates and results are available here, and more information about individual competitions can be found by contacting the appropriate state coordinator.

In states across the country, students are competing for a chance to show off their constitutional knowledge in Washington, D.C., this April at the 32nd Annual We the People National Finals!

The We the People state finals challenge students to participate in simulated congressional hearings, putting their knowledge into practice. After spending the school year studying the Constitution and the fundamental principles of American representative democracy, students answer questions about American government from knowledgeable community leaders and professionals, such as lawyers, professors, and historians, who serve as competition judges.

The North Dakota State Finals took place this month, won by Century High School in Bismarck.

The North Dakota State Finals took place in January. Century High School in Bismarck was the first-place winner.

In anticipation of this year’s state finals, participants study and practice with state hearing questions that address questions that include the following concepts:

  • Equal vs. proportional representation in Congress
  • Due process of law
  • The role of political parties
  • How contemporary issues are linked with history

Winners of the We the People state finals have the opportunity to attend the National Finals in Washington, D.C., from April 26-29. Teams can start preparing with the National Finals hearing questions when they are posted on January 31.

Are you interested in keeping up with the results of this year’s competitive state finals? The competition dates and results are available here, and more information about individual competitions can be found by contacting the appropriate state coordinator.

New Jersey Teacher CherylAnne Amendola on the Impact of Project Citizen in Her Classroom

Dec 05, 2018 / E-news

This guest post was provided by teacher CherylAnne Amendola of Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. Amendola was the the 2017 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year.

In 2009, I happened upon the Center for Civic Education’s Project Citizen and I knew that it was a program I had to bring to my 8th grade American History classroom. Over the last decade, Project Citizen has given my students the skills necessary to be politically active citizens, the experience of being involved in a project larger than themselves and their own academics, and the confidence to use their voices in knowing that they can be a part of the change they want to see in their world. Read the rest of this entry »

State Coordinator Profile: Cheryl Cook-Kallio

Nov 16, 2018 / Project Citizen, We the People

In April of this year, Cheryl Cook-Kallio assumed the mantle of state coordinator for the We the People Programs, including both We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and We the People: Project Citizen.
“My entire adult life has been about civic engagement,” says Cook-Kallio. She began teaching Project Citizen and We the People at the middle school level in the early nineties before she became a James Madison Fellow, which allowed her to increase her constitutional content knowledge and work with Senator Dianne Feinstein and the federal courts. She eventually moved to teaching at the high school level, specifically to teach a We the People competition class.
“All these things led my former and current students to encourage me to run for public office in 2006. I retired from teaching in 2015 after 39 years. I will never retire from encouraging excellent civic education.”
State and congressional district coordinators are responsible for ensuring that students and teachers throughout the United States have access to sets of We the People textbooks, providing exemplary profession, and helping classes conduct simulated congressional hearings. Cook-Kallio has both the hands-on experience and enthusiasm for civic education to excel as the California State Coordinator.
“[We the People and Project Citizen] encourage students to learn for the sake of learning. That is a teacher’s dream,” says Cook-Kallio. She sees the programs as a platform for civil discussion that places value on diversity of opinion based on fact, and these principles are essential in the encouragement of participatory democracy. It makes sense, then, that her favorite Founder is James Madison, who “was a pragmatist. If one suggestion didn’t work, he had another. He had a brilliant political mind and little ego. He was someone who learned for the sake of learning.”

In April of this year, Cheryl Cook-Kallio assumed the mantle of state coordinator for the We the People Programs, including both We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and We the People: Project Citizen.

“My entire adult life has been about civic engagement,” says Cook-Kallio. She began teaching Project Citizen and We the People at the middle school level in the early nineties before she became a James Madison Fellow, which allowed her to increase her constitutional content knowledge and work with Senator Dianne Feinstein and the federal courts. She eventually moved to teaching at the high school level, specifically to teach a We the People competition class.

“All these things led my former and current students to encourage me to run for public office in 2006. I retired from teaching in 2015 after 39 years. I will never retire from encouraging excellent civic education.”

State and congressional district coordinators are responsible for ensuring that students and teachers throughout the United States have access to sets of We the People textbooks, providing exemplary professional development, and helping classes conduct simulated congressional hearings. Cook-Kallio has both the hands-on experience and enthusiasm for civic education to excel as the California State Coordinator.

“[We the People and Project Citizen] encourage students to learn for the sake of learning. That is a teacher’s dream,” says Cook-Kallio. She sees the programs as a platform for civil discussion that places value on diversity of opinion based on fact, and these principles are essential in the encouragement of participatory democracy. It makes sense, then, that her favorite Founder is James Madison, who “was a pragmatist. If one suggestion didn’t work, he had another. He had a brilliant political mind and little ego. He was someone who learned for the sake of learning.”

Beacon Hill We the People Team Hosts Michigan Senate Candidates

Oct 19, 2018 / E-news

On September 17, two Michigan Senate candidates from Grand Rapids convened at an event at Beacon Hill, a senior living community. They engaged in a public discussion hosted by the Beacon Hill We the People team, who also timed and critiqued the talk.
“It is an amazing testament of how important We the People can be as a conduit of civic knowledge and life-long engagement,” says Ellen Zwarensteyn, the Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Civic Education.
The We the People team in Beacon Hill was established by Deb Snow, a retired We the People teacher who had previously adopted We the People in the Michigan and established a team in 1986 at Kentwood High School.

On September 17, two Michigan Senate candidates from Grand Rapids convened at an event at Beacon Hill at Eastgate, an active retirement community. They engaged in a public discussion hosted by the Beacon Hill We the People team, who also timed and critiqued the talk. Evans DeVries, a retired teacher and We the People coach, moderated the debate between state representatives Winnie Brinks and Chris Afendoulis, who were both vying for the state senate. Students in the class scored the debate independently.

Two Michigan Senate candidates convened for a discussion at Beacon Hill, an assisted living facility.

Two Michigan Senate candidates convened for a discussion at Beacon Hill.

“It is an amazing testament of how important We the People can be as a conduit of civic knowledge and life-long engagement,” says Ellen Zwarensteyn, the executive director of the Michigan Center for Civic Education.

The We the People team in Beacon Hill was established by Deb Snow, a retired We the People teacher who had previously adopted We the People in Michigan and established a team in 1986 at Kentwood High School.

Teachers Advocate for Creation of National Civics Award

Oct 19, 2018 / E-news

The Center receives grant from the Department of EducationSocial studies teachers Michael Martirone and Jenifer Hitchcock are working to elevate social studies and civics in the academic world, and build recognition for the achievements of high school students in civics.
“Civics and social studies have been neglected for far too long as public schools have sought to better prepare students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math education. We believe that educators have an obligation to ensure that the next generation has an understanding of our country’s history, our democratic process and how to engage with their communities,” say Martirone and Hitchcock.
They seek to work in cooperation with civics organizations and teachers from around the country to reward high school students who can demonstrate understanding of the government by writing an essay about their ability to affect positive change within their community.
For more on these teachers’ advocacy for civics and a national civics award, check out their proposal below:

Social studies teachers Michael Martirone and Jenifer Hitchcock are working to elevate social studies and civics in the academic world, and build recognition for the achievements of high school students in civics.

“Civics and social studies have been neglected for far too long as public schools have sought to better prepare students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math education. We believe that educators have an obligation to ensure that the next generation has an understanding of our country’s history, our democratic process and how to engage with their communities,” say Martirone and Hitchcock.

They seek to work in cooperation with civics organizations and teachers from around the country to reward high school students who can demonstrate understanding of the government by writing an essay about their ability to affect positive change within their community.

For more on these teachers’ advocacy for civics and a national civics award, check out their proposal below:

Learn.civiced.org Offers Free Resources for Educators

Oct 18, 2018 / E-news

A new platform is now available for educators and lifelong learners to learn about American constitutional government at learn.civiced.org! Watch scholars in the open course, participate in discussion forms, and explore a variety of learning resources for free.
The We the People Open Course is one resource that offers academic content ranging from the philosophical foundations of the U.S. Constitution through modern interpretation of its ideals. Noted scholars offer insights on history and its application in contemporary times. Other tools, such as free ebooks, lesson plans, and curated primary sources make it easy to teach civics and government, and even easier to learn.
All these resources are free when creating an account. Users can log-in with their email, or by using a Microsoft, Google, or Facebook account.
Keep an eye out for instructor-led courses that are coming soon to the site, bringing esteemed scholars into your classroom to offer new perspectives.

A new platform is now available for educators and lifelong learners to learn about American constitutional government at learn.civiced.org! Watch scholars in the open course, participate in discussion forums, and explore a variety of learning resources for free.

The We the People Open Course offers videos and questions that explore the fundamentals of American representative government, ranging from the philosophical foundations of the U.S. Constitution to the modern interpretation of its ideals. Noted scholars offer insights on history and its application to contemporary times. Other tools, such as free ebooks, lesson plans, and curated primary sources make it easy to teach civics and government, and even easier to learn.

The resources on this platform are free and easily available for classroom use.

The resources on this platform are free and easily available for classroom use.

All these resources are free when creating an account. Users can log in with their Microsoft, Google, or Facebook account.

Keep an eye out for instructor-led courses that are coming soon to the site, bringing esteemed scholars into your classroom to offer new perspectives.