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National Conference of State Legislatures


Since 1994, the Center for Civic Education (the Center) has enjoyed a partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on the Project Citizen program. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. Their goal to help inform the American citizenry about the role of the state legislatures, what legislatures do, and how citizens can work with their state officials on policy issues is reflected in the Project Citizen curriculum.

America's Back to School Program

Through the Center’s relationship with NCSL, they have been able to co-sponsor the America's Legislators Back to School program, encouraging legislators to go into classrooms and work with Project Citizen students and teachers. This project addresses the aims of both organizations to inform the public about the legislative process at the state and local levels.
Legislature Staff Connection Program

Legislative Staff Connection

The Legislative Staff Connection expands the role of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) as cosponsor of Project Citizen with the Center for Civic Education by providing legislative staff support and advice to Project Citizen classrooms.

The objectives of the Legislative Staff Connection program are to:
  • Match volunteer legislative staff with participating Project Citizen teachers and classes.
  • Provide teachers and students with a direct link to their state legislature and a better understanding of the role of legislators and staff in the policymaking process.
  • Enrich the Project Citizen experience for students by bringing the expertise and knowledge of legislative staff to bear on the public policy problem that students are addressing.
  • Provide students with useful information and other potential contacts related to the public policy problem they are studying.
Who can participaDSC 0347te in the Legislative Staff Connection program?
In the pilot stage seven states are actively involved in developing connections between legislative staff volunteers and Project Citizen teachers in those states. When the program has been fine-tuned it will be made available to every state legislature and every Project Citizen state coordinator. Any legislative staff member may volunteer to participate with the approval of their supervisors. NCSL staff and Project Citizen coordinators will assist in matching the staff volunteers with teachers in their state. The number of classrooms that receive assistance from a legislative staff volunteer will vary from state to state.

What is a legislative staff person volunteering to do with the class?

Each staff member will be paired with one classroom. The staff commitment involves providing both generic and specific information and advice to the teacher and students. For example, the staff person could provide help with such relevant topics as:
  • how the legislature operates
  • legislative personnel
  • bill writing procedures
  • specific information about the problem the class is studying
  • advice on how to have their voices heard by public officials
  • how to win supporters for their policy proposal
For the most part communications with the teacher and class will be done through remote means (i.e., email, telephone, Skype conferencing, etc.). Additional time commitments, personal visits to classrooms, or working with more than one classroom are optional and should be negotiated between the teacher and the staff volunteer. The classroom work by legislative staff is “pro bono”, and staff will not receive any additional compensation. Time off to conduct this work and reimbursement for optional travel to the classroom is up to the policies of each legislative staff office.