Alumna Asks Wedding Guests to Donate to We the People

Oct 02, 2018 / Alumni, E-news, We the People

“Participating in We the People is when I remember beginning to understand how something I was studying in school translated to work being done in the real world,” says Monica Lee, a We the People alumna. At her September wedding to Daniel Hart, Lee asked for donations to the We the People program. “My immediate and extended family make a concerted effort to seek out opportunities to help other people to make our communities better places, through work at our churches and in our neighborhoods and I wanted to give people an opportunity to do that as part of our wedding celebration.”

As a child, Monica Lee visited Washington, D.C., often with her family. Her father, Dennis Lee, worked as a teacher, volunteered with the We the People program, and served as the Indiana District Coordinator for many years. She participated in the We the People program as an eighth-grader. For Lee, the program fostered in her a deeper understanding of government’s role in the lives of citizens.

She carried this passion for politics on to a career in public service, working as an intern for the 2008 Obama Campaign for President, an intern in the White House in 2009, and a job as a press assistant in the White House Communications Office in 2011. She has been working in political communications as a career ever since.

The We the People program is offered across the country, giving students opportunities to learn about American government through simulated congressional hearings. Volunteer judges ask students questions regarding the Constitution, the Founders, and more, while encouraging students to link history to current-day events. Winners from state competitions qualify to compete at the national level in the National Invitational and the National Finals. These experiences promote a lifelong sense of civic duty and civic engagement in We the People alumni.

As alumna Monica Lee says, “Now more than ever, I think the We the People program is worth people’s time and resources, since it provides at such an important juncture of kids’ education insight into our democracy, which is important regardless of the field of work you go into.”

Are you a We the People program alumni? Get connected with the Center for Civic Education!

Raise Money for Civic Education with Facebook Fundraisers

Sep 20, 2018 / E-news

When you raise money through a Facebook fundraiser, one hundred percent of the funds go to the charity of your choice. This is why so many of our followers have chosen to support the Center for Civic Education for their birthdays this year, but did you know that you can make a Facebook fundraiser on any day of the year?
From your Facebook home page, click on “Fundraisers” and follow the easy steps to set your fundraising goals and select the Center for Civic Education as your nonprofit. For more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook fundraiser, check out our video tutorial:

When you raise money through a Facebook fundraiser, one hundred percent of the funds go to the charity of your choice. This is why so many of our followers have chosen to support the Center for Civic Education for their birthdays this year, but did you know that you can make a Facebook fundraiser on any day of the year?

From your Facebook home page, click on “Fundraisers” and follow the easy steps to set your fundraising goals and select the Center for Civic Education as your nonprofit. For more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook fundraiser, check out our video tutorial:

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Center and don’t forget that you can make a donation from the Center’s Facebook page or on our website!

Celebrate Constitution Day on September 17

Sep 05, 2018 / E-news

September 17 is Constitution Day, when we commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens. This year, teach Constitution Day with the Center’s resources!
These resources include the tried-and-true Constitution day lesson plans, with lessons tailored for grades K–12; the 60-Second Civics podcast that offers quick, daily lessons on civics; and, the James Madison Legacy Project videos, now available on YouTube and Facebook, featuring lessons on the creation of Constitution and the ideas within it.

In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill that moved I Am an American Day from the third Sunday in May to September 17 in order for the holiday to coincide with the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Congress renamed the holiday Citizenship Day, but in 2005, the holiday was renamed again to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

The purpose of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is to commemorate the creation and signing of the supreme law of the land and to honor and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship for both native-born and naturalized citizens. Federal law requires that all schools receiving federal funds hold an educational program for their students on September 17 of each year, and the Center for Civic Education makes it easy to celebrate!

Using the Center’s tools and resources, students at all grade levels can learn about the Constitution in easy-to-understand ways. These resources include the tried-and-true Constitution day lesson plans, with lessons tailored for grades K–12; the 60-Second Civics podcast that offers quick, daily lessons on civics; and, the James Madison Legacy Project videos, now available on YouTube and Facebook, featuring lessons on the creation of Constitution and the ideas in it.

How are you celebrating Constitution Day this year? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #ConstitutionDay and #centerforciviceducation!

We the People: The Citizen & The Constitution Available in Hardcover

Aug 20, 2018 / E-news

We the People: The Citizen & The Constitution is now available in a durable, high-quality hardcover version for middle and high school teachers and students! Both the student text and their accompanying teacher’s guides are available on the Center for Civic Education’s online store.
The We the People text for middle and high school levels examine the philosophical foundation of American democracy, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and how students can participate and influence civic affairs. The books are aligned with state standards, providing the intellectual tools that students need to become informed and engaged citizens through in-depth study of the Constitution.
A free, easy-to-access resource center also accompanies the textbooks, offering a variety of tools that are organized according by lesson and unit. Go to www.civiced.org/resourcecenter for more.
Check out the hardcover books here!

We the People: The Citizen & The Constitution is now available in a durable, high-quality hardcover edition for middle and high school teachers and students! Both the student text (Level 2 and Level 3) and their accompanying teacher’s guides (Level 2 and Level 3) are available on the Center for Civic Education’s online store.

The We the People texts for middle and high school levels examine the philosophical foundation of American democracy, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and how students can participate and influence civic affairs. The books are aligned with state standards, providing the intellectual tools that students need to become informed and engaged citizens through in-depth study of the Constitution.

A free, easy-to-access resource center also accompanies the textbooks, offering a variety of tools that are organized according by lesson and unit. Go to www.civiced.org/resourcecenter for more.

Check out the hardcover books here!

We the People Teacher Chris Cavanaugh Wins American Lawyer Alliances’ Teacher of the Year Award

Aug 20, 2018 / E-news, We the People

Christopher Cavanaugh, a We the People teacher who taught at Plainfield High School in Indiana in 2018, is one of this year’s Law-Related Education Teachers of the Year! Awarded annually by the American Lawyers Alliance, this award recognizes teachers who have made significant contributions in the area of law-related education and who have developed programs that help students recognize their civic responsibilities.
This year’s other winners are Daniel Bachman from Massapequa High School in New York and Catherine Ruffing from Centreville High School in Virginia. Winners were chosen from around the country and received $1500, along with $500 for travel expenses. On August 3, 2018, the awards ceremony was held at the University Club of Chicago. While not all of the teachers were able to attend the ceremony, those in attendance spoke eloquently of the civics programs they are continuing to implement in their schools.
Speakers included president of the Indiana State Bar Association, Andrielle Metzel, and executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation; Charles Dunlap, who spoke on behalf of the Foundation and the We the People program in Indiana; and, president-elect of the Virginia Bar Association, Richard E. Garriott. .
For more information about the Law-Related Education Teachers of the Year and the American Lawyers Alliance, check out their website here!

Christopher Cavanaugh, a We the People teacher who taught at Plainfield High School in Indiana in 2018, is one of this year’s Law-Related Education Teachers of the Year! Awarded annually by the American Lawyers Alliance, this award recognizes teachers who have made significant contributions in the area of law-related education and who have developed programs that help students recognize their civic responsibilities.

We the People teacher Christopher Cavanaugh won the ALAs Law-Related Education Teacher of Year Award.

We the People teacher Christopher Cavanaugh won the ALA's Law-Related Education Teacher of Year Award.

Cavanaugh will be teaching at Bismarck High School in North Dakota this fall. This year’s other winners are Daniel Bachman from Massapequa High School in New York and Catherine Ruffing from Centreville High School in Virginia. Winners were chosen from around the country. On August 3, 2018, the awards ceremony was held at the University Club of Chicago. Although not all of the teachers were able to attend the ceremony, those in attendance spoke eloquently of the civics programs they are continuing to implement in their schools.

Speakers included Andi M. Metzel, president of the Indiana State Bar Association; Charles R. Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation; and Richard E. Garriott, president-elect of the Virginia Bar Association.

For more information about the Law-Related Education Teachers of the Year and the American Lawyers Alliance, check out their website here!

2018 Project Citizen National Showcase Comes to a Close

Aug 14, 2018 / E-news, Project Citizen

Seventeen projects in both the traditional and digital formats were submitted for the 2018 Project Citizen National Showcase! Students dealt with a variety of topics from affordable housing to school schedules to HIV prevention, offering public policy solutions after doing extensive research in their communities.
Classes completed four steps in their projects: identifying the problem, proposing alternative solutions, identifying their preferred policy answers, and creating an action plan. Traditional projects display these steps on multi-paneled poster board and are accompanied by research binders. Digital projects sent in their materials organized in a powerpoint presentation.
See this year’s results here.
To find out more about the Project Citizen curriculum, check out the Project Citizen website here.

Seventeen projects in both the traditional and digital formats were submitted for the 2018 Project Citizen National Showcase! Students dealt with a variety of topics from affordable housing to school schedules to HIV prevention, offering public policy solutions after doing extensive research in their communities.

Classes completed four steps in their projects: identifying the problem, proposing alternative solutions, identifying their preferred policy answers, and creating an action plan. Traditional projects display these steps on multi-paneled poster board and are accompanied by research binders. Digital projects sent in their materials organized in a powerpoint presentation.

See this year’s results here.

To find out more about the Project Citizen curriculum, check out the Project Citizen website here.

Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Cotton Passes Away on June 10

Jun 26, 2018 / E-news

On June 10, civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton passed away. She spent her life fighting for civil rights alongside leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson.
Cotton played a crucial role in leading marches and organizing for civil rights, teaching people about the U.S. Constitution, and encouraging nonviolent protest. Cotton worked as the educational director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference beginning in the 1960s and developed its citizenship education program for twelve years. Her work encouraged African-American people to use their citizenship by exercising the right to vote.
From 2002–2010, she worked with the Center for Civic Education at the We the People Birmingham Seminars, influencing hundreds of teachers from classrooms all over America. Teacher David Alcox reminisces, “[I] still use many of the quotes she said while addressing us at the McNair art studio in Birmingham. One of my favorites was her saying, ‘Many times people ask where are our Founding Fathers today? The Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Washingtons? I tell them, they’re right there, in your classroom.’”

On June 10, civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton passed away. She spent her life fighting for civil rights alongside leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson.

Cotton played a crucial role in leading marches and organizing for civil rights, teaching people about the U.S. Constitution, and encouraging nonviolent protest. She worked as the educational director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference beginning in the 1960s and developed its citizenship education program for twelve years. Her work encouraged African American people to use their citizenship by exercising the right to vote.

Dorothy Cotton with the Director of the We the People programs, Robert Leming.

Dorothy Cotton with the Director of the We the People programs, Robert Leming, and Scott Leming.

From 2002–2010, she worked with the Center for Civic Education at the We the People Birmingham Seminars, influencing hundreds of teachers from classrooms all over America. Teacher David Alcox reminisces, “[I] still use many of the quotes she said while addressing us at the McNair art studio in Birmingham. One of my favorites was her saying, ‘Many times people ask where are our Founding Fathers today? The Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Washingtons? I tell them, they’re right there, in your classroom.’”

JMLP Summer Institutes Train Teachers in Civic Education

Jun 25, 2018 / E-news, James Madison Legacy Project

The James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes are in full swing this summer, engaging teachers in civics-oriented professional development courses across the country. These workshops serve teachers from schools serving high-need populations in the We the People curriculum that encourages civic engagement and an informed citizenry. These institutes are part of a larger initiative to enhance the knowledge and skills of civics and government teachers who are steadfast in promoting student achievement across the nation.
JMLP Tennesee and New Mexico participants in front of Bethel Church
Over the last three years of the JMLP sites provided either the traditional We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution professional development course or the Center’s blended-learning variation of the traditional model which provides participants with an interactive online course facilitated by educators trained in the curriculum. This year some sites created Institutes that ranged in topics from the civil rights movement in Alabama to the Yavapai-Apache Nation experience in Arizona.
During these Institutes participants will interact with lawyers, judges, state and local representatives, and professors of law, history, and political science who provide expert knowledge to our teacher/students. These guest speakers bring context and real-life experiences in their respective fields to make the content even more engaging. For example, the Tennessee and New Mexico sites brought teachers from their respective states to participate in the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. During the Institute in which they traveled through Selma and Montgomery as well teachers got to witness living history through speakers who participated in some of the most famous civil rights demonstrations in our history.
JMLP Arizona State of Nature and Natural Rights  Professional Development in Tombstone, AZ
For example, the Tennessee and New Mexico sites brought teachers from their respective states to participate in the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. During the Institute in which they traveled through Selma and Montgomery as well teachers got to witness living history through speakers who participated in some of the most famous civil rights demonstrations in our history. Another unique Institute will take place in Arizona where teachers will provide an insight to the history of the Arizona Yavapai-Apache as well as the impact our current laws and events have on them.
No matter the model implemented, JMLP teachers come away with more content knowledge and strategies to help them feel confident about using the We the People curriculum in their classrooms. If you participated in a JMLP summer institute, check out our Flickr page for more photos.
To see the original newsletter article as well as other great stories from the Center please subscribe here.

The James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes are in full swing this summer, engaging teachers in civics-oriented professional development courses across the country. These workshops train teachers from schools serving high-need populations in the We the People curriculum that encourages civic engagement and an informed citizenry. These institutes are part of a larger initiative to enhance the knowledge and skills of civics and government teachers who are steadfast in promoting student achievement across the nation.

JMLP Arizona State of Nature and Natural Rights Professional Development in Tombstone, AZ

JMLP Arizona State of Nature and Natural Rights Professional Development in Tombstone, AZ.

Over the last three years, JMLP sites have provided either the traditional We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution professional development course or the Center’s blended-learning variation of the traditional model which provides participants with an interactive online course facilitated by educators trained in the curriculum. This year, sites centered institutes around topics ranging from the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama to the Yavapai-Apache Nation experience in Arizona.

During these institutes, participants interact with lawyers, judges, state and local representatives, and professors of law, history, and political science who provide expert knowledge to teachers. These guest speakers bring context and real-world experience in their respective fields to make the content even more engaging. For example, the Tennessee and New Mexico sites brought teachers from their respective states to participate in the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. During the institute, they traveled through Selma and Montgomery, and witnessed living history through speakers who participated in some of the most famous civil rights demonstrations in our history.

Teachers from Ohio and Indiana worked together at the 2018 JMLP summer institute.

Teachers from Ohio and Indiana worked together at the 2018 JMLP summer institute.

No matter the model implemented, JMLP teachers come away with more content knowledge and strategies to help them feel confident about using the We the People curriculum in their classrooms. If you participated in a JMLP summer institute, check out our Flickr page for more photos.

To see the original newsletter article as well as other great stories from the Center please subscribe here.

LEAD Mongolia Project Promotes Civic Education Using CCE Resources

May 22, 2018 / E-news

In Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education is spreading the word on civic education with translated versions of the Center for Civic Education’s Foundations of Democracy as part of the LEAD Mongolia project! Two thousand one hundred copies of the textbook have been shared with two hundred forty two schools in the country. Funded by USAID, the project has also hosted teacher training as part of a partnership with the Institute of Teachers’ Professional Development.
Project Citizen (PC) is being implemented in sixty-six schools and eleven provinces, thanks to newly trained teachers who have introduced the program to approximately two thousand four hundred middle and high school students and almost two hundred students from Mongolian National University of Education. PC encourages students to identify problems in their communities that can be solved with student-proposed policy solutions. This year, the final PC competition was conducted at the President of Mongolia’s Citizen Hall and the President Battulga made a speech, then presented gifts (books) to every participant of the final showcase.
Due to the success of these projects in Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education has been invited to continue the project for another three years. They will continue to promote Project Citizen, as well as the Foundations of Democracy textbook. Working with the Center for Civic Education, the project will continue in expanding its professional development and civic education programs for students in Mongolia.

In Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education is spreading the word on civic education with translated versions of the Center for Civic Education’s Foundations of Democracy as part of the LEAD Mongolia project! Two thousand one hundred copies of the textbook have been shared with two hundred forty two schools in the country. Funded by USAID, the project has also hosted teacher training as part of a partnership with the Institute of Teachers’ Professional Development.

A Project Citizen Train the Trainers Seminar

A Project Citizen Train the Trainers Seminar

Project Citizen (PC) is being implemented in sixty-six schools and eleven provinces, thanks to newly trained teachers who have introduced the program to approximately two thousand four hundred middle and high school students and almost two hundred students from Mongolian National University of Education. PC encourages students to identify problems in their communities that can be solved with student-proposed policy solutions. This year, the final PC competition was conducted at the President of Mongolia’s Citizen Hall and the President Battulga made a speech, then presented gifts (books) to every participant of the final showcase.

Due to the success of these projects in Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education has been invited to continue the project for another three years. They will continue to promote Project Citizen, as well as the Foundations of Democracy textbook. Working with the Center for Civic Education, the project will continue in expanding its professional development and civic education programs for students in Mongolia.

We the People National Invitational Hosts Ten Middle School Teams

May 21, 2018 / 2018 National Invitational, E-news, We the People

Ten middle school teams attended the 2018 We the People Invitational, showcasing their knowledge on civic education and public speaking skills at the National Conference Center from May 4 to May 8.
Fishers Junior High School from Indiana placed first with Teacher Mike Fassold. Second place is held by Rachel Carson Middle School in Virginia, led by Teacher Cynthia Burgett. Bob Graham Education Center from Florida placed third with Teacher John Brady. The awards ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook, where unit awards were also announced. For full results from the competition, see the Center for Civic Education’s website.
Each class competed in teams, organized by the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook. Each unit deals with one aspect of American constitutionalism. Students are asked challenging questions about constitutional issues by a panel of expert judges made of accomplished scholars, attorneys, and public officials, among others.
To see more of the students and activities from this year’s Invitational, visit the Center’s Flickr page!

Ten middle school teams attended the 2018 We the People Invitational, showcasing their knowledge on civic education and their public-speaking skills at the National Conference Center from May 4 to May 8.

Fishers Junior High School from Indiana placed first with teacher Mike Fassold. Second place is held by Rachel Carson Middle School in Virginia, led by teacher Cynthia Burgett. Bob Graham Education Center from Florida placed third with teacher John Brady. The awards ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook, where unit awards were also announced. For full results from the competition, see the Center for Civic Education’s website.

Each class competed in teams organized by the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook. Each unit deals with one aspect of American constitutionalism. Students are asked challenging questions about constitutional issues by a panel of expert judges made of accomplished scholars, attorneys, and public officials, among others.

To see more of the students and activities from this year’s National Invitational, visit the Center’s Flickr page!