Southern Nevada Holds Fourth Annual We the People Boot Camp

Nov 14, 2017 / E-news, We the People

The fourth annual We the People Boot Camp for Nevada Congressional Districts 1, 3, and 4 took place October 14, 2017 at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
More than 300 students and 25 teachers participated. Presenters included District Coordinators Debbie Berger, Trey Delap, and Michael Vannozzi, Judge Elissa Cadish, Professors Rachel Anderson (UNLV), Sondra Cosgrove (College of Southern Nevada) and David Tanenhaus (UNLV), Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, Faiss Middle School Principal Roger West, Canyon Springs teacher Dr. Lou Grillo, and Clark County School District Social Studies Coordinator Jaynie Malorni. Congressman Ruben Kihuen’s Assistant Ashley Garcia was also on hand for the Boot Camp demonstration and workshops.
Professor Tanenhaus said that, for him, the highlight of the event was watching young people discover how relevant what they’ve been learning is to the world around them. “The students [were] working in groups to discuss how the most talked about stories in the news all related to constitutional elements,” he explained. Those events included the ongoing controversy about the National Football League (NFL) and the recent Vegas massacre. “They realized that the We the People curriculum gave them the vocabulary they needed to discuss these connections.”
The president of Nevada’s League of Women Voters, Professor Sondra Cosgrove, was also impressed with the level at which participating students were working. “In [my] sessions, the students were highly motivated and eager to ask questions and share information,” she said. “We discussed research methods for leveraging online resources, as well as criteria for judging resource reliability. The students demonstrated a wide-range of research experience and constitutional knowledge, and a willingness to engage in debate.”
Vannozzi, a coordinator for District 4, was equally impressed. Working in small groups for just 15 minutes, he tasked his students with researching and composing answers to questions. The students then chose representatives from each group to present their answers in no more than 90 seconds. “The results were fantastic!” Vannozzi enthused. “Afterward, I had several teachers tell me that they will use our ‘sample follow-up question’ exercise in their own classrooms.”
Many of the students found the day valuable and said that it allowed them to become more comfortable with the hearing process, and the question and answer sessions. They also got to practice connecting current events with the U.S. Constitution using social media, technology, and other research tools.

The fourth annual We the People Boot Camp for Nevada Congressional Districts 1, 3, and 4 took place October 14, 2017 at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.

More than 300 students and 25 teachers participated. Presenters included District Coordinators Debbie Berger, Trey Delap, and Michael Vannozzi, Judge Elissa Cadish, Professors Rachel Anderson (UNLV), Sondra Cosgrove (College of Southern Nevada) and David Tanenhaus (UNLV), Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, Faiss Middle School Principal Roger West, Canyon Springs teacher Dr. Lou Grillo, and Clark County School District Social Studies Coordinator Jaynie Malorni. Congressman Ruben Kihuen’s Assistant Ashley Garcia was also on hand for the Boot Camp demonstration and workshops.

Professor Tanenhaus said that, for him, the highlight of the event was watching young people discover how relevant what they’ve been learning is to the world around them. “The students [were] working in groups to discuss how the most talked about stories in the news all related to constitutional elements,” he explained. Those events included the ongoing controversy about the National Football League (NFL) and the recent Vegas massacre. “They realized that the We the People curriculum gave them the vocabulary they needed to discuss these connections.”

Jayne Malorni, Roger West, and Dr. Lou Grillo demonstrate WTP Hearing

Jayne Malorni, Roger West, and Dr. Lou Grillo demonstrate WTP Hearing

The president of Nevada’s League of Women Voters, Professor Sondra Cosgrove, was also impressed with the level at which participating students were working. “In [my] sessions, the students were highly motivated and eager to ask questions and share information,” she said. “We discussed research methods for leveraging online resources, as well as criteria for judging resource reliability. The students demonstrated a wide-range of research experience and constitutional knowledge, and a willingness to engage in debate.”

Vannozzi, a coordinator for District 4, was equally impressed. Working in small groups for just 15 minutes, he tasked his students with researching and composing answers to questions. The students then chose representatives from each group to present their answers in no more than 90 seconds. “The results were fantastic!” Vannozzi enthused. “Afterward, I had several teachers tell me that they will use our ‘sample follow-up question’ exercise in their own classrooms.”

Many of the students found the day valuable and said that it allowed them to become more comfortable with the hearing process, and the question and answer sessions. They also got to practice connecting current events with the U.S. Constitution using social media, technology, and other research tools.

Lyceum Scholars Program Helps Students Interested in the American Founding

Nov 13, 2017 / E-news

The Lyceum Scholars Program at Clemson University in South Carolina
This unique program offers $10,000 scholarships to incoming Clemson University freshmen for Fall 2018.
The Lyceum Scholars Program offers ten $10,000 scholarships to incoming Clemson University freshmen. The program uses a “Great Books” approach to studying the history of liberty, the American Founding, and the idea of moral character.   Scholars take a series of eight hierarchically-structured courses (one per semester) as an intellectual cohort over their four years at Clemson.  Students take classes including ‘Introduction to Political Theory’, ‘Wisdom of the Ancients’ and ‘Political Theory of Capitalism’ and read works such as Plato’s Republic, Cicero’s On Duties, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.  Open to any major, the Lyceum Scholars Program awards a minor in Political Science and prepares students for careers in law, academia, policy making and business.
Because the program emphasizes moral character, Lyceum Scholars are assigned Socratic Tutors who guide students as they apply classroom theory to their own lives.
The priority application deadline for incoming Fall 2018 freshmen is December 11, 2017.  Students accepted into the Lyceum Scholars Program receive $10,000 scholarships to Clemson University.
Please share this opportunity with your best students.  If you have specific seniors in mind, please recommend them on our website here: www.clemson.edu/capitalism/teachers.html.
More information and an application are on our website, including a digital flyer for distribution that describes the program.  Questions? Contact lyceum@clemson.edu.

The Lyceum Scholars Program offers ten $10,000 scholarships to incoming Clemson University freshmen. The program uses a “Great Books” approach to studying the history of liberty, the American Founding, and the idea of moral character. Scholars take a series of eight hierarchically-structured courses (one per semester) as an intellectual cohort over their four years at Clemson. Students take classes including “Introduction to Political Theory,” “Wisdom of the Ancients,” and “Political Theory of Capitalism” and read works such as Plato’s Republic, Cicero’s On Duties, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. Open to any major, the Lyceum Scholars Program awards a minor in Political Science and prepares students for careers in law, academia, policy making and business.

Because the program emphasizes moral character, Lyceum Scholars are assigned Socratic Tutors who guide students as they apply classroom theory to their own lives.

The priority application deadline for incoming Fall 2018 freshmen is December 11, 2017.  Students accepted into the Lyceum Scholars Program receive $10,000 scholarships to Clemson University.

Please share this opportunity with your best students.  If you have specific seniors in mind, please recommend them on our website here.

More information and an application are on the website, including a digital flyer for distribution that describes the program. Questions? Contact lyceum@clemson.edu.

American Judges Foundation Gives Grant to We the People

Oct 04, 2017 / E-news, We the People

The Center would like to acknowledge the continuing generosity of the American Judges Foundation (AJF). The Foundation voted at its annual meeting in Toronto to increase this year’s contribution to the Center for Civic Education for the We the People program to $5,000 to support the We the People program. They have also made it an ongoing donation. In her gracious remarks, Judge Catherine Shaffer said, “This outstanding nonpartisan organization provides top notch civic educational opportunities for students across the United States via its highly praised ‘We the People’ program. Keep up your wonderful work!”

The Center thanks Judge Shaffer and her many colleagues in the American Judges Association (AJA) not only for the grant but, more importantly, for the extraordinary services they have continued to render over the years as scholars and volunteer judges for the We the People program. Judge Shaffer is a King County Superior Court judge and currently serves as the AJA President-Elect. She has a long history as a participant in the We the People program, for years having served as a judge at the Washington State Finals and also as a judge at the National Finals competitions.

The American Judges Association is the only judicial organization that represents judges from both Canada and the United States and is the largest judges-only association in the US. Civic education and judicial education are central to its mission. Its members include a cross section of judges from all levels of courts with all levels of jurisdiction—a diverse group that, when united, speaks as the “Voice of the Judiciary.”
For additional information please contact John Hale at the Center.

The Center would like to acknowledge the continuing generosity of the American Judges Foundation (AJF). The Foundation voted at its annual meeting in Toronto to increase this year’s contribution to the Center for Civic Education for the We the People program to $5,000 to support the We the People program. They have also made it an ongoing donation. In her gracious remarks, Judge Catherine Shaffer said, “This outstanding nonpartisan organization provides top notch civic educational opportunities for students across the United States via its highly praised ‘We the People’ program. Keep up your wonderful work!”

The Center thanks Judge Shaffer and her many colleagues in the American Judges Association (AJA) not only for the grant but, more importantly, for the extraordinary services they have continued to render over the years as scholars and volunteer judges for the We the People program. Judge Shaffer is a King County Superior Court judge and currently serves as the AJA President-Elect. She has a long history as a participant in the We the People program, for years having served as a judge at the Washington State Finals and also as a judge at the National Finals competitions.

The American Judges Association is the only judicial organization that represents judges from both Canada and the United States and is the largest judges-only association in the US. Civic education and judicial education are central to its mission. Its members include a cross section of judges from all levels of courts with all levels of jurisdiction—a diverse group that, when united, speaks as the “Voice of the Judiciary.”

For additional information please contact John Hale at the Center.

Eleven years of Project Citizen in Ghana

Sep 25, 2017 / E-news, Project Citizen

Ghanaian students have now been participating in Project Citizen programs for eleven years! Since 2006, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has been organizing Project Citizen in all ten regional capitals of Ghana to empower young people with the knowledge and skills to be informed citizens.
Students from both senior and junior high schools identify real-world issues in their communities and present their research and solutions to a panel of judges from various academic disciplines. Judges evaluate the presentations and arguments of students who come up with solutions to solve real issues they have identified in their communities. Some topics researched by students include teenage pregnancy, cement dust pollution, child marriage, and elections.
Participants develop critical thinking and research skills, confidence in public speaking, and knowledge of the public policy process. These tools are critical in helping them understand democratic values and principles, so that they may demand transparency and accountability on key issues in Ghana.
NCCE has also collaborated with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to form Civic Education Clubs in public and private schools, where students are extending their civic education beyond even their Project Citizen portfolios.

Ghanaian students have now been participating in Project Citizen programs for eleven years! Since 2006, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has been organizing Project Citizen in all ten regional capitals of Ghana to empower young people with the knowledge and skills to be informed citizens.

Students from both senior and junior high schools identify real-world issues in their communities and present their research and solutions to a panel of judges from various academic disciplines. Judges evaluate the presentations and arguments of students who come up with solutions to solve real issues they have identified in their communities. Some topics researched by students include teenage pregnancy, cement dust pollution, child marriage, and elections.

Students present their project to a panel of judges.

Students present their project to a panel of judges.

Participants develop critical thinking and research skills, confidence in public speaking, and knowledge of the public policy process. These tools are critical in helping them understand democratic values and principles, so that they may demand transparency and accountability on key issues in Ghana.

NCCE has also collaborated with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to form Civic Education Clubs in public and private schools, where students are extending their civic education beyond even their Project Citizen portfolios.

Mark Molli speaks to International Visitor Leadership Program

Sep 25, 2017 / E-news

Associate Director of the Center for Civic Education, Mark Molli, spoke with fifteen international participants as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education. The IVLP group focused on the goal of promoting civic engagement, exploring the legislative framework necessary to support civic engagement, and providing insight into how the United States engages youth in civic participation.
Molli highlighted the Center’s work to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry, including its work at the national level to promote the Center’s programs with Congress and the administration.
Participants from all over the world attended the program and brought expertise from a range of professional fields, such as education, medicine, and human rights activism.

Mark Molli, associate director of the Center for Civic Education, spoke with fifteen international participants as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education. The IVLP group focused on the goal of promoting civic engagement, exploring the legislative framework necessary to support civic engagement, and providing insight into how the United States engages youth in civic participation.

Molli highlighted the Center’s work to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry, including its work at the national level to promote the Center’s programs with Congress and the administration.

Participants from all over the world attended the program and brought expertise from a range of professional fields, such as education, medicine, and human rights activism.

Mark Molli leads a discussion with IVLP participants. Photo by Daniel Labarca.

Application Open for Civic Learning Award for CA Public Schools

Sep 25, 2017 / E-news

The application for the 2017–2018 California Civic Learning Award for Public Schools is open! Co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the awards celebrate civic learning and encourage public schools to enhance student engagement in civics and democracy.
A committee of representatives from the California Department of Education, Judicial Branch, and other business and education leaders will assess the depth and breadth of applicants’ civic learning classes, clubs, and programs. By identifying successful ways in which public schools are preparing students to be a part of an engaged citizenry, the California Department of Education hopes to spread effective models of civics education programs in other schools.
The application deadline is January 19, 2018 and Awards of Excellence, Distinction, and Merit will be announced in February 2018. Award of Excellence winners will be visited by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Award of Distinction winners will be visited by an appellate court justice, and Award of Merit winners will receive recognition from superior court judicial officers. Those who receive Awards of Excellence and Distinction will also receive plaques and invitations to the California School Recognition Regional Awards Ceremony hosted by the California Department of Education.
For more information, check out the California Department of Education website and the California Courts website.

The application for the 2017–2018 California Civic Learning Award for Public Schools is open! Co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the awards celebrate civic learning and encourage public schools to enhance student engagement in civics and democracy.

A committee of representatives from the California Department of Education, the judicial branch, and other business and education leaders will assess the depth and breadth of applicants’ civic-learning classes, clubs, and programs. By identifying successful ways in which public schools are preparing students to be a part of an engaged citizenry, the California Department of Education hopes to spread effective models of civic education programs in other schools.

The application deadline is January 19, 2018, and Awards of Excellence, Distinction, and Merit will be announced in February 2018. Award of Excellence winners will be visited by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Award of Distinction winners will be visited by an appellate court justice, and Award of Merit winners will receive recognition from superior court judicial officers. Those who receive Awards of Excellence and Distinction will also receive plaques and invitations to the California School Recognition Regional Awards Ceremony hosted by the California Department of Education.

For more information, check out the California Department of Education website and the California Courts website.

Back to School!

Aug 15, 2017 / E-news

School is almost back in session and there are plenty of tools and resources available for students and teachers at the Center for Civic Education! Lead your civics, history, and government classes with the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution textbooks and curriculum at elementary, middle, and high school levels; free lesson plans on specific subjects; or encourage civic engagement with Project Citizen.
The more you explore the Center’s website, the more resources you will find. The 60-Second Civics podcast offers brief lessons and a daily civics quiz that can begin class each day. Free lesson plans on topics ranging from Presidents’ Day to Women’s History Month make it easy to explain history to students. Or, engage with the class using the We the People enhanced ebooks that offer extras like videos and explanations to hold students’ interest.
For more updates on the Center’s resources and programs, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or sign up for the newsletter!

The new school year is here and there are plenty of tools and resources available for students and teachers at the Center for Civic Education! The more you explore the Center’s website, the more resources you will find. The 60-Second Civics podcast offers brief lessons on the Constitution and includes a Daily Civics Quiz, which can get your students ready to learn each day. The Center offers free lesson plans for two important teachable anniversaries coming up this September: the 9/11 attacks and Constitution Day (September 17). You can energize your classroom with our extensive selection of free lesson plans for K-12 students. Read the rest of this entry »

We the People Teachers Win American Lawyers Alliance Teachers of the Year Award

Aug 14, 2017 / E-news, We the People

Each year, the American Lawyers Alliance (ALA) recognizes three teachers of law-related education as the American Lawyers Alliance Teachers of the Year. At this year’s awards breakfast and ceremony on August 11, 2017 in the Yale Club of New York, the winners celebrated came from a broad section of the country, from the Ozarks to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The middle school winner is Cherese Smith from Ozark Junior High School (Ozark, Arkansas). The high school winners are David Alcox, Milford High School (Milford, New Hampshire) and Fred Cole, Marquette High School (Marquette, Michigan). The presidents of the Bar Associations from Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Michigan attended and spoke on behalf of these amazing teachers. Each winner received $1500 and spoke at the ceremony about the programs they have implemented at their schools.
This is especially exciting for the Center for Civic Education, as Fred Cole has been involved with the James Madison Legacy Project as a mentor teacher and David Alcox won the American Civic Education Teacher Award from the Center in 2013.
The American Lawyers Alliance is a charitable and educational nonprofit that aims to foster understanding and respect for the American legal system and preserve democracy through citizenship education. For information on the 2018 Teacher of the Year awards, please visit www.americanlawyersalliance.org/annual-awards.

Each year, the American Lawyers Alliance recognizes three teachers of law-related education as the American Lawyers Alliance Teachers of the Year. At this year’s awards breakfast and ceremony on August 11 in the Yale Club of New York, the winners celebrated came from a broad section of the country, from the Ozarks to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Read the rest of this entry »

Declaration Resources Project Curates Content for Teachers’ Use in the Classroom

Aug 09, 2017 / E-news

When teaching students about the Declaration of Independence, there are a variety of valuable resources that can be found for free on the website of the Declaration Resources Project. The project curates content about the Declaration of Independence, teaching the origins and history of the document while providing research highlights and learning tools. A plethora of printable resources and insights about the Declaration’s importance and role in American history can be found on the Project’s website, as well as fresh takes on the document by scholars. Read the rest of this entry »

National Academy Cultivates Environment of Scholarship for Civics Teachers

Aug 07, 2017 / E-news, National Academy for Civics and Government, Professional Development

“I couldn’t imagine spending July any other way. What a fabulous experience for my life, mind, and teaching.” These are the words of a participant at the Center’s National Academy for Civics and Government, which was conducted at Occidental College July 8–29 under the scholarly direction of Professor Will Harris of the University of Pennsylvania. Visiting scholars included Professor Steven Bilakovics, Dr. Kevin Ryan, and John Swaine, the CEO of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The “preceptors,” or mentor teachers, were Kevin Fox, Shellee O’Brien, and Keith Gall.
The National Academy is an intensive, three-week study of the content of political and constitutional theory as well as its applications to the participants’ professional lives. The National Academy participants are elementary or secondary school teachers from across the country who were selected in a competitive review process.
The National Academy readings are drawn from important primary and secondary sources, and can be viewed in their entirety on the content outline link on the Center’s website. Perhaps the best way to understand its profound effects on the participants is to read their own words:
“I learned way more than I can acknowledge right now. I thank y’all so much for an amazing experience. It changed my life. Keep asking the hard questions!”
“This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life! I have completely reassessed the way I view the world.”
“Will was so flexible. He has a great mind and is a great teacher! I got a ton of teaching ideas. Will is a great example of a citizen. I am so grateful for the environment of scholarship during the three weeks.”
“Will creates not only a framework for understanding constitutional history and philosophy but a constitutional way of thinking and discussion. This is incredibly valuable for teachers of American history and politics (and I imagine teachers of other subjects as well).”
“Wow, what an honor and a privilege to be here. This has genuinely been amazing. I hope I can continue to study, think, and talk on this level.”
“I appreciated deeply the opportunity to engage in constitutional theory. This kind of thinking is a luxury in the day-to-day experiences of my teaching.”
Center Associate Director John Hale attested to the excellence of the faculty and participants, noting that he had “never seen a more cohesive group of participants over the past two decades in which the National Academy has been offered. They continue to stay in close touch via their Facebook site as well as on www.politicolor.com. I believe them when they say the National Academy will greatly enhance their teaching.”

“I couldn’t imagine spending July any other way. What a fabulous experience for my life, mind, and teaching.” These are the words of a participant at the Center’s National Academy for Civics and Government, which was conducted at Occidental College July 8–29 under the scholarly direction of Professor Will Harris of the University of Pennsylvania. Visiting scholars included Professor Steven Bilakovics, Dr. Kevin Ryan, and John Swaine, the CEO of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The “preceptors,” or mentor teachers, were Kevin Fox, Shellee O’Brien, and Keith Gall. Read the rest of this entry »