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Teaching American History: A Straightforward Fix For The Bay State

25 Aug 2016

It’s often said that what isn’t tested isn’t taught. At the same time, recent federal laws compel far too much standardized testing. State education leaders should reinstate passage of a U.S. history MCAS test as a high school graduation requirement, as was envisioned in the commonwealth’s Education Reform Act. Given the proven performance of Massachusetts public schools over the last two decades in English language arts and math, the commonwealth should also apply for a waiver from federal, annual testing mandates. Massachusetts public schools have had much to be proud of over the last two decades. Between 2005 and 2013 we led    Read more >


Lawyers Alliance names Blackfoot We the People educator Teacher of the Year

09 Aug 2016

Blackfoot High School teacher Holly Kartchner has been named "Teacher of the Year" by the American Lawyers Alliance. The Alliance is a charitable group whose mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the law and the American legal system. For the past nine years Kartchner's students have won the state's "We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution" course and competition, and traveled on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. In 2015, the team received the Region Award for the Western States and was ranked in the top 15 in the nation. This is the highest award ever received by an Idaho school. "It is really    Read more >


Local teachers attend James Madison Legacy Institute

01 Aug 2016

Charla Hurt and Jennifer Underwood represented Lincoln County Schools at the James Madison Legacy Institute held at Vanderbilt University on June 5-10. The institute provided content knowledge by constitutional scholars around the United States. The educators also participated in many pedagogy demonstrations and discussions with teachers across the state of Tennessee. The James Madison Legacy Project is a three-year nationwide initiative of the Center for Civic Education that aims to increase the number of highly effective teachers of high-need students through the professional development of 2,025 teachers, increase the achievement of at    Read more >


We the People Program gets teachers fired up

01 Aug 2016

When I was in politics, I sometimes worked with a couple of ministerial alliances and church groups, with an emphasis on social issues and what we defined as “economic justice” – ending the economic stratification that separates the comfortable from the afflicted. How you improve the lot of the disadvantaged was usually how the “economic justice” issue was framed. One of the more conservative ministers advocated for an official Christian national religion that everyone would have to practice. He preached in a denomination that in the South talks in tongues. He was ignored, though I did hear a subdued snicker or two. Sometimes    Read more >


Civil society, creativity, and civic education

27 Jul 2016

The goals of civic education are manifold in the US. Some people believe an end goal for civic education is practical application. This includes students learning the principles of federalism and voting in local, state, and national elections. Others believe an end goal for civics is a responsible citizenship. For example, From Classroom to Citizen: American Attitudes on Civic Education identified that 94% of study participants believe “civic education makes a major contribution to developing responsible citizens” and 90% believe it is “instilling a sense of national pride.” We accomplish this through inculcating in students a deep    Read more >


Fishers High School We the People champions recognized

26 Jul 2016

A pair of Fishers High School state championship teams were honored in front of the Fishers City Council at its June meeting. The FHS We the People team was back in front of the council to be recognized for its sixth-place finish at the national competition following its Indiana state title. “Even more important than their accomplishments this year has been that their hard work has sparked so much excitement in the Fishers community,” said Liz Paternoster, FHS teacher and We the People coach. “For example, we had (city councilor) Cecilia Coble volunteer to judge a competition for us and from that a We the People class for adults was    Read more >


However it's taught, history matters

21 Jul 2016

Who writes the history book? That figures to be a hot topic if history makes a comeback in Massachusetts public schools. But that should not hold back the education of U.S. history, which was relegated to secondary status when plans for a standardized test were shelved in 2009. The drive to restore American history's place in public schools is being led by the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. The so-called "think tank" has ties with the conservative Koch brothers, but a stronger history commitment also has support from former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, an avowed liberal who co-authored a March editorial (with the    Read more >


Plainfield We the People teacher elected to Indiana state board

20 Jul 2016

The Indiana Bar Foundation announced its newly elected board of directors and, for the first time, the board includes two teachers employed by central Indiana high schools. Kenneth J. Allen assumed the presidency on June 1, a month earlier than customary to fill the position of Geoffrey G. Slaughter who resigned in advance of his appointment to the Indiana Supreme Court. Allen will serve for two years as president, a change that increased the president’s term from one year. Amy Dudas Noe was elected president-elect for a two-year term. Scott L. Barnhart was appointed to the secretary/treasurer position by Allen. Non-officer executive    Read more >


Mass. Center for Civic Education promotes engaged citizenship among students

15 Jul 2016

When history teacher Roger Desrosiers received a postcard from the Center for Civic Education in 1987 offering free classroom materials for the U.S. Constitution’s bicentennial, little did he know that the organization would become his life’s work. After decades of promoting the study of American history and civics, Desrosiers is now President of the Massachusetts branch of the non-profit, non-partisan organization. The CCE operates the nationwide We the People and Project Citizen programs that promote civic participation. Their mission is to form responsible citizens who are educated in the principles of democracy. Desrosiers    Read more >


Allen County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Felts named to board

04 Jul 2016

Allen County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Felts has been named to the board of the Indiana Bar Foundation. The foundation operates multiple education programs in civics, including its signature program We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution, and seeks to increase civil legal representation for Hoosiers who cannot afford a private attorney. The nonprofit was organized in 1950    Read more >


Indiana attorney involved in We the People named to Bar Foundation Board

04 Jul 2016

Robert C. Beasley, Muncie, has been newly named to the Indiana Bar Foundation Board, according to a release. The Foundation streamlined its board after a recommendation in its 2015-18 strategic plan. The Indiana Bar Foundation operates multiple education programs in civics, including its signature program We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution, and seeks to increase civil legal representation for Hoosiers who cannot afford a private attorney    Read more >


We The People teacher to attend prestigious Supreme Court Summer Institute

15 Jun 2016

Trumbull High School teacher Katie Boland will travel to Washington, DC this June to attend the prestigious Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers. After a highly competitive application process, 60 teachers were selected to participate this year. The Institute, open to teachers in the fields of law-related and civic education, is co-sponsored by Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society. The Institute offers teachers the opportunity to study recent Supreme Court Cases in detail and learn innovative teaching methodology for conveying this information to students. Well-known Supreme Court lawyers, reporters,    Read more >


Sen. Moore Welcomes Auburn High We the People Students to State House

26 May 2016

Senator Michael Moore and State Rep Paul Frost welcomed students from Auburn High School to the Massachusetts State House. Students were accompanied by teachers Spencer Kennard and Vincent Benacchio from the Social Studies Department. Earlier in the year, the students represented Auburn High School in the We the People state championship held at the Edward Kennedy Institute in Boston. We the People is a national program that promotes civic competence and responsibility among students.. As part of the curriculum, the program incorporates a simulated congressional hearing in which schools across the country compete for state and national    Read more >


Sen. Moore Welcomes Auburn High We the People Students to State House

26 May 2016

Senator Michael Moore and State Rep Paul Frost welcomed students from Auburn High School to the Massachusetts State House. Students were accompanied by teachers Spencer Kennard and Vincent Benacchio from the Social Studies Department. Earlier in the year, the students represented Auburn High School in the We the People state championship held at the Edward Kennedy Institute in Boston. We the People is a national program that promotes civic competence and responsibility among students.. As part of the curriculum, the program incorporates a simulated congressional hearing in which schools across the country compete for state and national    Read more >


Circuit takes civic education to community

26 May 2016

Progress is being made on a civic education initiative for the communities covered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann reported Wednesday. Addressing the annual Second Circuit Judicial Conference in Saratoga Springs, Katzmann said the two-year effort is well underway—with committees that cover everything from helping teachers develop social studies curricula that increase understanding of the justice system, to the creation of learning centers, to regular visits to courthouses for students. For example, the Civic Education Subcommittee has partnered with the New York City Department of Education'    Read more >


Tosa West's We the People team reflects on nationals, yearly successes

25 May 2016

Wauwatosa West High School social studies teacher Chad Mateske said that ever since his We the People class won the state title about nine years ago, the pressure has been on to keep it. And with each new school year, his students have succeeded in doing just that. "We are proud of the streak that we have going right now," he said. "It does add pressure to each incoming group because they don't want to be the class where the streak is broken." We the People is a civics and government course found in schools nationwide. The curriculum's concept mimics a congressional hearing, said Mateske. The students dive into research in certain areas of    Read more >


North Schuylkill approves We the People textbooks for next year

23 May 2016

The North Schuylkill school board took actions at last Wednesday’s meeting to order books and fuel, set lunch prices and other items for the next school year. They include “We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution” (2016) Student Edition for high school civics (30 copies) and Teacher Edition (one copy). Total cost with shipping and handling is 0. Also approved is “We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution” (2011) Student Edition — Grade 5 (three classroom sets) and Teacher Edition. Total cost with shipping and handling is jumi,197    Read more >


Marshwood teacher describes We the People class's experience

21 May 2016

Marshwood Middle School teacher Andy Rowe, who also serves as faculty leader of the school’s We The People team, described the team’s recent trip to Washington, D.C. where his students participated in a national competition. We The People enables middle and high school students to participate in national contests where their knowledge of current events and U.S. government is tested. “They did an excellent job,” said Rowe of his students. “And they behaved even better    Read more >


Cheyenne kids learn about government through “We the People”

20 May 2016

About 700 Cheyenne fifth-graders are excited about the United States Constitution thanks to a special curriculum, their teachers and community volunteers. The curriculum, called “We the People,” teaches students about their rights and responsibilities as Americans. Students spent the last few months in their classrooms reading a textbook prepared by the “We the People” creators. They also researched topics and wrote essays about issues like the responsibilities of freedom. The highlight of their efforts happened this week when they gathered at Laramie County Community College. Here, they read their essays before a panel of judges    Read more >


Recently there have been articles in The Valley Breeze and the Providence Journal pronouncing civics education and civic knowledge dead and “awful.” These individuals decry the political and constitutional knowledge that citizens in our country currently

19 May 2016

As the end of the school year approaches, most students are thinking about their summer plans. But approximately 150 students from the following schools, Dominion Middle School (Franklin County), Harvest Preparatory School (Franklin County) and Sycamore Junior High School (Hamilton County) remain focused on academics, having spent the last few months studying and preparing for the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase, which will take place May 13 on the campus of Columbus State Community College. Students from Ravenna High School (Portage County) will also participate. Ravenna teacher, Matthew    Read more >