2017: The Year Ahead

Jan 04, 2017 / E-news, Message from the Center

We here at the Center for Civic Education could not be more excited for 2017 and all it will bring. Most notably, 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the We the People program; an extraordinary landmark that we could never have reached without the continued support of the civic education community. As the state-level We the People hearings take place over the next three months, students and coordinators should know they are participating in an extra-special year. Be on the lookout for more information about this anniversary in the months to come.

The upcoming year is also full of opportunities for educators. This summer, the Center is hosting multiple James Madison Legacy Project (JMLP) Institutes, as well as a very special National Academy for Civics and Government. Civic education is more important than ever, and in addition to educating our youth, the Center believes in empowering the nation’s teachers with the tools and strategies necessary to succeed. To learn more about these opportunities, as well as a variety of other ways you can promote active and engaged citizenship, read on.

January

January 16 marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the Center boasts a wealth of resources for educating students about the power of words, and the history of the civil rights movement. Remember, if you’re using the We the People enhanced e-book, you also have access a clip from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and more.

Inauguration Day is January 20. As the 45th president of the United States is sworn into office, educators can utilize our lessons about George Washington’s legacy to learn more about the peaceful transition of power—a principle that has helped keep the Great American Experiment moving forward for more than 200 years.

February

Black History Month is celebrated each February. In honor of the occasion, the Center has a collection of lessons for grades 6-12, which focus on the civil rights movement and the power of nonviolence.

February 20 is Presidents’ Day. In addition to cutting the cake for Abraham Lincoln, it’s also an excellent opportunity for educators to teach the powers (and limitations) of the executive branch.

March

March is Women’s History Month. Use our lessons to teach your students about the Equal Rights Amendment, suffrage, and the women who helped shape the civil rights movement.

March is an important month for those interested in attending the National Academy for Civics and Government in July. For those planning on applying to this selective opportunity, make sure your applications are in by March 1. Click here for more information and a complete application form. Those chosen to attend the institute will be notified by March 31.

April

From April 21 to April 24, the We the People National Finals will be held at the National Conference Center in Washington, D.C. High school teams who have reached the state level will be eligible to compete in this incredibly exciting tournament. Lincoln High School of Portland, Oregon, took home the title last year. Who will be the 2017 champions?

The We the People National Invitational begins on April 28. Not only are we thrilled about We the People’s 30th anniversary, but this year the Invitational also has a new home: the National Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Middle school teams from across the country will have the opportunity to explore all our nation’s capital has to offer.

May

Law Day is May 1. This year’s theme is “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy.” Educators are encouraged to examine the legacy of the Fourteenth Amendment, which helped redefine citizenship and the role of the states. This amendment is one of the most enduring elements of  Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.

The We the People National Invitational concludes on May 2.

June

This summer is full of exciting professional development opportunities for civic educators. In June, we are hosting several JMLP Institutes across the country. The Minnesota-Wisconsin JMLP Summer Institute runs from June 25-June 30. The Missouri JMLP Summer Institute runs from June 26-June 28. These institutes will feature a “blended” approach that incorporates technology into traditional teaching methodology. These institutes are open to the public, and more information is to follow.

July

From July 8-29, the Center is proud to host the intensive, three-week National Academy for Civics and Government. Twenty-five U.S. teachers and five international teachers will have the opportunity to “engage in serious study and seminar-style discussion of basic ideas of political theory, the principles of the founding of the Constitution and the United States, and the values of American constitutional democracy.” Applications are due March 1.

August

When it comes to stocking your classroom for the upcoming academic year, we encourage you to explore the Center’s shop for the latest editions of texts like We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and the Foundations of Democracy series. If you already use the Center curriculum in your classroom, consider adding our enhanced ebooks to your toolkit. Our ebooks come with exclusive digital content that will enhance your classroom experience!

September

This September 11 marks the 16th anniversary of the tragedy that changed the course of our nation. In 2009, Congress deemed the day one of “National Service and Remembrance.” The Center’s lessons will help engage students with the events of September 11 and their aftermath, with a focus on “diversity, identity, and common ground.”

Constitution Day is September 17, and commemorates the formation of the supreme law of the land. Our K-12 lessons are perfect for taking a closer look at this foundational document that impacts us every day.

October

Tuesday, November 7 is Election Day, which means that October is the perfect time to revisit our Citizens, Not Spectators curriculum. This off-year election has several federal, state, and local races that are sure to heat up as November nears. With Citizens, Not Spectators, students will be informed and empowered voters when they head to the ballot box.

November

November is Native American Heritage Month. Throughout the month, take the time to reflect on the vital role of Native Americans in our nation’s past, present, and future. This Library of Congress website offers resources for teachers.

November 11 is Veterans Day, an opportunity to honor those who have served in the military.

December

Bill of Rights Day falls on December 15. Created by Franklin D. Roosevelt, this day is meant to commemorate the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which are integral in protecting the individual liberties of American citizens. Not only is this day perfect for honoring these crucial liberties, but it is also an excellent opportunity for exploring how the Constitution is an ever-changing, flexible document. Our activity To Amend or Not to Amend? investigates the amendment process and has students draft a proposed amendment of their own. Other lessons explore how the Framers of the Constitution didn’t always see eye-to-eye.

Make sure to keep your eyes on the Center for Civic Education homepage and Facebook page for the latest news!

Civic Education: The U.S. Constitution Is the Core

Dec 06, 2016 / Message from the Center

By Charles N. Quigley

Over the past three years U.S. Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) have passed three successive resolutions expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate about the importance of effective civic education programs in schools in the United States and affirming the importance of constitutional literacy. You can read the resolutions listed below:

S. Res. 427 in the 113th Congress
S. Res. 150 and S. Res. 440 in the 114th Congress

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Soup to Nuts Video Series Now Available on YouTube

Oct 26, 2016 / Foundations of Democracy, Message from the Center

Interested in injecting a little humor into the current political season? Watch Soup to Nuts, a filmstrip the Center released in 1977 to promote student inquiry and discussion of the need for authority, limited government, elections, and the role and responsibilities of the people and the people they elect to serve in their behalf. Although dated, we think it is pretty relevant. Read the rest of this entry »

Funding Professional Development in Civic Education: Timely Advice

Aug 22, 2016 / Message from the Center

By Charles N. Quigley

When it comes to finding the necessary funds to provide high-quality professional development to American educators, we should take the long view and see the greater societal benefit of such an investment. We should be careful not to be trapped into regressive budgeting plans that play into the old warning against being “penny wise and pound foolish.” Read the rest of this entry »

Saluting Rosa Parks

Dec 21, 2015 / Message from the Center

With her gently defiant action on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks served as an inspiration to all of America during the civil rights movement. She continued to inspire Americans young and old to live up to our constitutional ideals throughout her life. Read the rest of this entry »

An Insider’s View of Educational Reform, 1965-2015

Nov 24, 2015 / Message from the Center

The year 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the Center for Civic Education. Coincidentally, it is the 50th anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is the major source of federal support for precollegiate education. Read the rest of this entry »

Congressional Support for Civic Education

Jan 16, 2015 / Message from the Center

For the past two years, the U.S. Department of Education has conducted a professional development grant program titled Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED). The Center is pleased to announce that the omnibus bill that was recently passed into law  continues funding for SEED with a specific line reference to “civic education instruction,” thanks to Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. We hope to compete for these funds once again, which will enable us to provide quality professional development for civics teachers throughout America.
Last spring, the Center was pleased to work with the offices of Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa to pass S. Res. 427, a strong statement by the United States Senate recognizing the importance of civic education in schools in the United States. We encourage all advocates for a balanced curriculum in the schools to use this declarative statement to promote civics and government in your community: https://www.congress.gov/113/bills/sres427/BILLS-113sres427ats.pdf

For the past two years, the U.S. Department of Education has conducted a professional development grant program titled Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED). The Center is pleased to announce that the omnibus bill that was recently passed into law  continues funding for SEED with a specific line reference to “civic education instruction,” thanks to Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. We hope to compete for these funds once again, which will enable us to provide quality professional development for civics teachers throughout America. Read the rest of this entry »

Tell Your Story: Submit Your We the People and Project Citizen Videos

Feb 14, 2012 / Message from the Center, Project Citizen, Volume 4, Issue 1, We the People

All of us who have been involved with the We the People Programs know that civic education empowers students and changes lives.
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Apply for the White House Summer Correspondence Associates Program

Feb 10, 2012 / Message from the Center, Volume 4, Issue 1

The Office of Presidential Correspondence is accepting applications for the Summer Correspondence Associates Program. Correspondence Associates help staffers support President Obama’s effort to maintain a dialogue with the American people. Applications are due April 1.
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