We the People News Print

new course offerings


The West Plains R-7 School Board of Education met this week to review and approve the 2018-2019 list of high school courses and calendar, and a proposed information technology program at South Central Career Center (SCCC). The social studies department will introduce the James Madison Legacy Project, a first-semester offering for juniors and seniors. The project, spearheaded by the Center for Civic Education under the U.S. Department of Education, is a three-year nationwide initiative aimed at increasing student understanding of civics and government. The same department will introduce a new elective course studying U.S. wars    Read more >

Marquette Senior High School Team takes 3rd in “We The People”


ABC 10 reports that the Advanced Placement government class at Marquette Senior High School placed third in the “We The People: the Citizen and the Constitution” competition at the State Capitol in Lansing over the weekend. The team has been a high finisher for years. “The kids did an excellent job, it’s the best performance we’ve had by any group in the 14 years we’ve been doing this. They really were outstanding,” Said AP Government Teacher Fred Cole. They also got a chance to meet with State Representative Sara Cambensy. “It was really nice, she got us on the floor of the House of Representatives, she greeted the kids and    Read more >

Fishers Junior High ‘We The People’ team hoping to become back-to-back national champs


This WISH-TV story is accompanied by a three-minute video about the Fishers Junior High “We The People” team having the opportunity to become back-to-back national champions. They could use some help to make it happen. We The People is a citizen and Constitution program, teaching kids a variety of government and civics topics. There are 30 kids on the Fishers Junior High School team. They are split into six units, learning about the Constitution, application of law, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and voting to name a few. The kids go through a five-step tryout process and spend time each day in their We The People class to learn    Read more >

Belmont students learn about legislative process from state senator who participated in We the People as a student


Fourth-graders at Belmont Elementary School have been a captive audience this semester as they learn about the three branches of government. They’ve already read numerous books on the subject, including “The Birth of the American Democracy” and “A Day in the Senate.” On Jan. 12, they heard firsthand from a Nebraska state senator and LPS alum what it’s like to be front and center in the legislative process. State Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln visited the school and told the story of her personal political journey - from a curious high school student active in “We the People” debate competitions to a first-term state senator    Read more >

‘A laser focus’: We the People grad named 2018 Lilly Scholar


Seventeen-year-old Grace Jackson is like most high school students. She enjoys watching Netflix, reading fantasy novels, drinking coffee and spending time with friends. She also dreams of being a Supreme Court justice, and she thinks setting up mitigation strategies would be “so fun.” On Dec. 15, it was announced that Jackson would receive a full scholarship to any Indiana college as the county’s 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. Her love for the U.S. Constitution and laws that govern the land began in eighth grade, when she was a member of the last local We the People team to win the national competition in Washington, D.C    Read more >

Boonsboro High We the People team wins state competition


The We the People team from Boonsboro High School earned the state championship on Jan. 4 in competition with two schools from Baltimore and Charles counties. Boonsboro will participate in the national We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition from April 27 to May 1 in Leesburg, Va. In the simulated congressional hearing, students “testify” before a panel of judges. They demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. The goal of We the People is to promote civic competence and    Read more >

Robert C. Byrd High School seniors heading to Charleston for state 'We The People' competition


A group of 21 seniors from Robert C. Byrd High School will travel to Charleston Tuesday to participate in the “We The People” mock congressional hearing. Under the instruction and supervision of AP U.S. Government teacher Greg Phillips, the students competed in November at the district level, where they were chosen as the class to represent District I in state competition. “It’s a mock congressional hearing, but it’s rooted in testifying about constitutional issues,” Phillips said. “There’s a lot of philosophical conversations and philosophical writing that has to happen before we go.” The students have to take abstract    Read more >

Cambensy welcomes Marquette High School students to the State Capitol


LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) invited a class from Marquette Senior High School onto the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday afternoon during their visit to the Capitol for a statewide civic competition. Citizens are only allowed on the floor when accompanied by a legislator. Having worked as the director of adult and community education at Marquette Area Public Schools for the last 10 years, Cambensy said she missed working with students. She addressed the students while on the floor about her experiences in the Legislature, answered questions and wished them well in their competition. “I’m    Read more >

Boonsboro High's We the People Team Wins State Championship


The We the People team from Boonsboro High School earned the state championship on January 4, 2018, in competition with two schools from Baltimore and Charles counties. Boonsboro will participate in the national We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition in Leesburg, Virginia from April 27 – May 1, 2018. In the simulated congressional hearing, students “testify” before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. The primary goal of We the People is to    Read more >

New year, new displays of brains and talent for Kern County students


January commences five months of high energy, intense academic events and competitions administered by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office. From mid-January through the end of the academic year in May, thousands of students will exhibit their knowledge and skills in a dozen language arts, history, government, mathematics, science and fine arts events based on state curriculum standards. Winning at the county level can mean a trip to state and perhaps national venues for those who have been diligently preparing since the school year began last August. Feb. 2-3 We the People Congressional Hearings, state finals, Golden Valley    Read more >

Tester holds town hall with Flathead high schoolers


Local high school students got a chance to meet one of their senators Friday morning during a town hall meeting held just for them. It was all part of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's #Montennial Tour. He's been touring the state of Montana and meeting with young people face to face. "I've done a lot of these," said Tester. "It's one of the neat things that I really, really enjoy, is visiting with kids, because for the most part there's no political agenda." Over 100 students from Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Stillwater Christian School convened at Glacier High School's performance hall to ask Tester a variety of questions. They questioned    Read more >

Civic Health and Civic Engagement in Indiana


This is a video interview about the Indiana Civic Health index that was presented on WFYI, Ft. Wayne public television, that includes references to We the People, the Citizen and the Constitution. What is Civic Health, and how do Hoosiers fare when we take a close look at their civic engagement? Measuring everything from voter turnout to participation in community groups to how often families eat dinner together, the Indiana Civic Health Index reveals Indiana residents excel - and where there's room for change. Our guests are retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, Indiana Bar Foundation Executive Director Charles    Read more >

We the People team crowned state champs


Trumbull High’s We the People team won its seventh consecutive citizen and Constitution competition state championship last week. The 29 seniors in Katie Boland’s AP/ECE Government/Constitutional Studies class beat St. Joseph’s High School, Greenwich High School, Immaculate High School, South Windsor High School, Staples High School and Torrington High School in the competition, held at Central CT. State. The students began their preparation at the start of the school year as they became experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. The competition involved entire classes making presentations and    Read more >

We the People on to state competition


Jackson Hole High School students are riding their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution to a state competition. Students from We the People, the school’s Constitution team, aced the district qualifier in Casper on Dec. 4 and will compete Jan. 22 against six teams at the state final in Laramie. It’s the third year in a row Jackson students have qualified under the leadership of teacher Jim Rooks. Students worked also with judges and attorneys to learn about the document and its practical application in modern politics. They competed in teams of five on a variety of units, including the document’s history and foundations, its creation, the    Read more >

Civics alive and well here


“What role, if any, should the United States play in helping war-torn nations or promoting democratic ideas and principles around the world?” This was just one of the many questions high school students prepared for in the annual “We the People” state competition recently held in downtown Indianapolis. The primary goal of the “We the People” program is to promote civic competence and responsibility among Indiana’s elementary, middle and high school students. The program, administered in our state by the Indiana Bar Foundation, is a classroom curriculum focused on enhancing students’ understanding of the institutions of    Read more >

Trumbull High wins Constitution competition


Trumbull High School has taken another first place at Central Connecticut State University’s We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition. “It gets more and more competitive each and every year,” said Katie Boland, a social studies teacher at Trumbull High and the team’s coach in this competition. Staples High School, of Westport, took second place, while Greenwich High placed third. Monday’s victory marked the 23rd championship for Trumbull High, and the seventh straight with Boland as coach. The 29 seniors who make up the winning team are also in the school’s Advanced Placement U.S. Government/Constitutional    Read more >

We the People competition a success


Wednesday night’s “We the People” competition at the Marion County Courthouse was a success! First off, we had 100 percent attendance. Secondly, our Career Academy class will go on to represent our district at the state “We The People” event in February. One group in particular had a nearly perfect score of 177/180. We did a plus/delta with the students and we identified areas for improvement. In particular, we have set a goal for our students to improve their professionalism, especially when they are not presenting. There are many individuals to thank and we look forward to everyone’s continued support. Lastly, we are looking    Read more >

‘We The People’ helps students explore Constitution


For one night this week at the Marion County Judicial Center, high school seniors sat in chairs usually occupied by lawyers. Some put printed note sheets out in front of them on the counsel tables, others gripped prepared note cards. The students sat in groups of four, ready to discuss key values and ideas of the U.S. Constitution as classmates watched from the gallery and judges watched from the bench. As part of We The People, a program developed in 1987 to teach students about the history and principles of the Constitution, teams of students from two Marion Technical Institute Career Academy classes and one Trinity Catholic High School    Read more >

The NH Bar and We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution


On Friday, December 8, students from Hollis Brookline High School, John Stark Regional High School and Milford High School converged on the Legislative Office Building in Concord to testify before panels of judges, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. Following the “Mock” Congressional Hearings, students, teachers, parents and supportive visitors joined an awards ceremony honoring each student individually with a 2017 We the People medallion. Group achievement in each of the 6 Units of study was also recognized with Unit awards. Students from Hollis Brookline High School    Read more >

Woodside 3rd, Homestead 5th in We the People contest


Two Allen County schools finished in the top five last weekend at a statewide competition for students studying the U.S. Constitution. Homestead High School and Woodside Middle School finished fifth and third, respectively, in the We the People competition Dec. 10-11 in Indianapolis. Run by the Indiana Bar Foundation, We the People teaches students about civics through lessons and debates on history, law and the Constitution. The state competition featured teams from 14 high schools and middle schools. Top-rated teams are eligible to advance to the national competition held in Washington, D.C., in May. Last year, North Side High School went    Read more >

Fishers students top We the People competition


Two schools from Fishers took home first place honors from the 2017 Indiana We the People state finals held in Indianapolis Dec. 10 to 12. Fishers High School and Fishers Junior High School both finished at the top of the high school and middle school competitions, respectively. The win was a repeat for Fisher Junior High which placed first in the middle school contest in 2016. Now the two teams can compete in the national We the People competitions in the spring of 2018. More than 600 students from across Indiana participated in this year’s state championships, including several from schools new to the We the People program. During the    Read more >

Civic education endowment started in McKinney’s honor


To support its civic education programs, the Indiana Bar Foundation is starting an endowment and will name it after one of the civic education’s biggest cheerleaders – the late Larry McKinney, senior judge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The Honorable Larry J. McKinney Endowed Fund for Civic Education was unveiled during the Indiana Bar Foundation’s 2017 Awards Dinner held Sunday night in Indianapolis. Funds given in memory of the McKinney after his unexpected death in September are being used to start the endowment which is hoped will reach at least ,000. “I think it’s a fitting tribute,”    Read more >

We the People state finals this weekend


This weekend, local students will compete in downtown Indianapolis in the state finals for the We the People competition. Plainfield High School as well as Covenant Christian High School will compete along with 12 other area schools from across the state. “We’re really excited about it,” Covenant Christian government teacher Kyle Wilson said. “We tend to go to state every year, and we have a lot of really tough competition. Indiana is one of the toughest states as far as national competition is concerned, so there has been a lot of preparation." Wilson said his students have worked very hard. “I have a really good group,” he    Read more >

Education issues in Bakersfield


Three education issues Fong and Salas need to pay attention to There are currently three issues related to education in California worthy of the attention of our assemblymen, Vince Fong (CA34) and Rudy Salas (CA32). First, the teacher shortage could be addressed by allowing veteran teachers who are near retirement to job share with another veteran teacher without harm to their “bottom line” retirement. Many teachers would work longer and continue to contribute if a half day were possible. Second, the Assembly should consider a bill that would require all administrators to spend one day per quarter substitute teaching in a classroom.    Read more >

Combs Middle School to participate in "We the People" program


SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) During the month of December, Combs Middle School students will be participating in “We the People.” We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Program's goal is to promote civic competence and responsibility. 8th grade social studies students, will engage in the program’s culminating activity. Students will “testify” before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress, to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and they will have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues    Read more >

Joplin High School Constitution Team Wins We the People State Competition


They haven't been elected, but a group of Joplin High School students will descend on Washington, D.C., this spring all the same. The JHS We the People Constitution Team on Monday won the state-level competition in Columbia after participating in six mock congressional hearings. The next step will be representing Missouri at the national event in April of next year. Directed by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Center for Civic Education, the We the People competition seeks to teach high school students the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution and how they apply to the country’s democracy and the everyday lives of its citizens. "We've been    Read more >

Centennial High School wins ‘We the People' regional championship


Centennial High School's 'We The People' was crowned regional champions over the weekend. On Saturday, nearly 200 local high school students competed in the annual 'We The People' congressional hearings competition at Golden Valley High School. In the end, it was Centennial High School that took home the victory in the regional competition, according to Kern County Superintendent of Schools. During the competition, students use their knowledge of civics, history and law to present a four-minute testimony before a panel comprised of civic leaders and community scholars. Each school presents testimony in two rounds of six "units" or mock    Read more >

High schoolers strut their constitutional knowledge


Madeline Wilson and Abigail Kluttz, both seniors at Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City, told a panel of judges it’s likely now more than ever that the U.S. could see an additional political party develop. The two students explained the history of political parties in the U.S. and what role parties play during a competition Monday. Wilson said during an interview it’s imperative for her generation to be educated about the government in order to be good citizens and good voters. “This is our country and we’re going to grow up to be the leaders of it someday, so it’s really important to know why we believe what we    Read more >

Competition challenges students' U.S. history knowledge


Students from around Kern County put their knowledge of U.S. history to the test on Saturday. Seniors from schools across the county participated in the We the People Congressional Hearings competition, hosted by Golden Valley High School. Students from schools in both the 21st and 23rd congressional districts gave oral presentations on topics relating to the U.S. Constitution and responded to questions from government teachers and other local experts. Centennial High School from the 23rd District and Arvin High School from the 21st district won in their districts. Centennial was chosen as the overall winner of the competition for earning the    Read more >

Homestead students vying to win state 'We the People'


Some students at Homestead High School settled in Friday – after a fire alarm interrupted the start of class – to learn about and debate portions of the U.S. Constitution. The students, mostly juniors, are in Sara Warfield's “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” class. The semester-long course is a combination of history, civics and law that aims to interest students in the Constitution and issues surrounding the document upon which the U.S. government is based. It is designed to be interactive, and the 17 students in the class at Homestead will take part in a state competition with 13 other high schools next weekend    Read more >

We the People compete to know our rights at Silverado High School


AP Government is not only a class that prepares for the AP exam, but a class which integrates the We the People program. Some students are preparing to compete against other schools with judges asking them questions based on their comprehension of history. “The mission is to make sure students know about their rights and how their government can positively or negatively affect them, and to create well-informed and skillful, knowledgeable citizens,” said teacher Melanie Pavlides. Mrs. Pavlides is teaching AP U.S. government for her first time this year, preparing the students for their AP exam in May. “Our main goal is to compete against    Read more >

High school sends team to US Constitution competition


A team from Jackson Hole High School will pit their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights against that of other students. On Monday more than 400 students from around the state will face off in Casper in the Wyoming Congressional District Qualifier of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. Students from Arvada-Clearmont, Casper Kelly Walsh, Casper Natrona, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cody, Glenrock, Green River, Kemmerer, Lander, Laramie, Newcastle, New Frontier, Niobrara, Riverside, Saratoga, Shoshoni, Sheridan and Upton will join Jackson students, coached by teacher Jim Rooks. Twenty schools is the largest    Read more >

Voucher Programs and the Constitutional Ethic


In an article to be published in an academic journal, Professor Sheila Kennedy writes about voucher programs and the constitutional ethic. She cites the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program as a curriculum that can be used in private schools as well as public schools to help students understand American constitutionalism. The article will be posted here after its publication in a journal    Read more >

The James Madison Legacy Project: Training Teachers to Educate Underprivileged Students About Their Rights as Citizens


Well-informed teachers are critical to the success of any education system, but most four-year degrees scarcely scratch the surface on the topic of government education. With this in mind, the Center for Civic Education started The James Madison Legacy Project to train teachers to better present key subjects, like government, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These subjects are especially important at high-needs schools because they teach students about their rights as citizens and emphasize key skills, like public speaking and teamwork, that tend to translate well in the working world. Early research results show the program is    Read more >

It’s Time to Strengthen—Not Reduce!—History in Our Classrooms


This week we marked the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, this is one of the many facts of which students in our public schools are largely unaware. It’s long past time for that to change. In recent years, much effort has rightfully been devoted to improving math and science education, while U.S. history education has been marginalized. Consequently, American students score better in math and science than they do in civics on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. When Horace Mann founded the first public school system in Massachusetts, he envisioned it as a way to safeguard our democracy by    Read more >

JMLP events for the Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education


The Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education partnered with Arkansas educators to organize the James Madison Legacy Project, a teachers’ workshop for civics education, funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Supporting Effective Educator Development program. Louisiana teachers traveled to the University of Central Arkansas for a six-day teachers’ workshop on the We the People civics curriculum. LCLCE Director Peggy Cotogno and two Louisiana We the People teaching mentors, Chris Totaro and Jamie Staub, also attended the program. Seen here are teachers and mentors at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. You    Read more >

Students Demonstrate Constitutional Knowledge at State Showcase


More than 150 Ohio middle school students will compete in the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase at Columbus State Community College. For We the People, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, students participate in simulated congressional hearings. They showcase their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles by evaluating, presenting, and defending positions on historical and contemporary issues. After providing a prepared answer to the competition questions, students answer follow-up questions from judges including college professors, judges, attorneys, and    Read more >



Teacher's Institutes and Professional Development In a collaboration with the Justice Resource Center, Justice For All developed and presented, with the integral participation of federal judges, faculty from numerous law schools, and practicing lawyers, a week-long summer professional development program for New York City and Albany, NY, teachers. Held each summer since 2016, the program focuses on the teaching of a comprehensive high school civics education curriculum ("We the People"). The teachers who participate in this special program are selected from among those working in schools in economically challenged areas. On June 29 through    Read more >

Five WCPS High Schools Participating in District We the People Competition on November 14


HAGERSTOWN, MD (November 6, 2017) – Students from Boonsboro, North Hagerstown, Smithsburg, South Hagerstown and Williamsport high schools will participate in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution annual Simulated Congressional Hearing Competition on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held at Maugansville Bible Brethren Church. In the simulated congressional hearing, students “testify” before a panel of judges. The judges include representatives from state and local government, as well as other community leaders. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional    Read more >

Grimmer Middle School teacher Donna Spivak: High energy class promotes higher thinking skills


When you walk into Donna Spivak's fifth-grade classroom at Grimmer Middle School, it's obvious the children love her — and they're learning. Spivak, who has been a teacher for 33 years, has taught English/language arts, and for the first time in many years is teaching math and science. She conveys her love of the subjects to the students in every activity they undertake. During an afternoon at home, Spivak was busy on the internet researching new ways to keep her students excited about learning. For the first time this year, Spivak is going to have her students act as "math ambassadors" to first graders at Watson Elementary School, which    Read more >

A dialogue with a future lawyer about free speech


Arjun Ahuja, a now-graduated senior from Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Lucy Mini, a rising senior at Greenwich High, competed in and won the ConSource-Harlan Institute Virtual Supreme Court Competition held in 2017 in Washington, D.C. They successfully argued the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 582 U.S. ___ (2017) case. As their teacher and coach, I (Aaron Hull) couldn’t be prouder of their tremendous accomplishment. Following this phenomenal competition, we were asked to write about studying free speech and teaching about free speech. When Arjun and I were discussing our options for writing a    Read more >

Freedom of expression: Why and how should it be taught?


Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, took power in 1933 when he became chancellor of the German government. His death in 1945 marked the end of his absolute rule as dictator of the German people. He precipitated one of the most catastrophic periods in human history, in which millions of people died not only on the battlefield, but also in his attempt to eliminate all of the Jews in Europe, as well as homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally ill and handicapped, who were considered “needless eaters.” He began the first year of his reign by eliminating the political opposition. An early step he took to attain this goal was to eliminate all    Read more >

NH students tackle tough questions as civics lessons sharpen their minds


It's the last block of the day on a perfect fall afternoon, but the energy level is soaring inside Dave Alcox's classroom at Milford High School. Even after the bell rings, students linger to finish an impassioned debate about the First Amendment. This is "We the People," a civics education curriculum that explores the Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Last week, Alcox's students were presenting the arguments in landmark Supreme Court cases. The issues were weighty - and relevant. Can schools mandate drug testing for students in extra-curricular activities? Can a principal bar a school newspaper from publishing    Read more >

Judges take Constitution into schools


Judges Wendy Davis and David Avery weren't dressed the part when they spoke to students at two schools last month, but the lack of their black robes didn't lessen the impact of their lessons. The Allen Superior Court judges visited Canterbury Middle School and Woodlan Elementary School as Indiana courts recognized Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787. They were met with energetic, engaged students, said John McGauley, court executive. Davis visited Canterbury, and Avery went to Woodlan. “These kids found this interesting,” McGauley said. “ ... Neither of them had to drag answers out of people.” Both    Read more >

GHS National History Day Winners Honored at Board of Education Meeting


In the National History Day competition a set of very busy seniors were recognized by coach Aaron Hull, Greenwich Schools Superintendent Dr. Jill Gildea and the Board of Education at the Sept 14 meeting for their success at the National History Day competition. Michelle Xiong won for her an individual senior documentary. Her project was entitled, “Governor Ralph Lawrence Carr: A Politician’s Stand for Japanese American Rights During World War II.” “The relevance of Michelle’s work on Ralph Lawrence Carr in today’s political climate is a remarkable testament to the power of history to educate,” said We The People coach Aaron Hull    Read more >

Councilman to share U.S. history in weekly lectures


Rob McCoy, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Godspeak, is presenting a lecture series on American government. The hourlong talks will be at 7 p.m. every Wednesday through the end of October at the church, 2697 Lavery Court, Ste. 14, Newbury Park. There is no cost to attend. McCoy, a member of the Thousand Oaks City Council, has a bachelor’s degree in history. The series will be nonpartisan and for people of all faiths. According to an email provided by the church, McCoy will offer a “healthy, historical look at our American government, how it is relevant and how it is shaping our future.” “(Rob) is quite a patriotic man who deeply    Read more >

Education focus, testing on history, civics critical to well-informed citizenry


September 17 marks the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, this is one of the many facts of which students in our public schools are largely unaware. It's long past time for that to change. In recent years, much effort has rightfully been devoted to improving math and science education, while U.S. history education has been marginalized. Consequently, American students score better in math and science than they do in civics on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. When Horace Mann founded the first public school system in Massachusetts, he envisioned it as a way to safeguard our democracy by educating    Read more >

Constitution challenge: Brush up on founding document


It is a simple expression, really, but one that is fundamental to our country. As the beginning of the preamble to our Constitution, it calls us all, as citizens of our democracy, to be active participants in our community, both local and national. As we all wrestle with the issues facing our country, it is more urgent than ever that we all understand the core principles found in our Constitution. To further this aim, the Allen County Bar Foundation has long been a proud supporter of the We the People: The Citizen and Constitution, an inspiring program for local students in elementary, middle and high school in northeast Indiana and    Read more >

Adults can learn about the U.S. Constitution through special class


Adults who want to learn more about the history and application of the U.S. Constitution can attend the "Constitution 101" class offered 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 18 and 25 and Oct. 2 in Meeting Room C of the downtown Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza. The class is based on the popular "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" curriculum taught in high schools around the country, an event news release said. It will be taught by Robert Leming, national director of the Center for Civic Education's "We the People" programs. Educational credits won't be offered. This class has been held previously in Fishers and Bloomington, but    Read more >

Students could teach a thing or two


It was both sad and ironic to see the reaction of Kern High School District board member Mike Williams to an opinion piece published recently in this paper. Sad because an official with oversight of a large education system should have more knowledge and restraint, and ironic because schools in Kern have been the recipients of many civic learning awards. In fact, our district is recognized both statewide and nationally as one that leads in the area of civic education. Several schools have received K-12 Civic Learning Awards from the state's chief justice, we have award winning We the People teams, and we host the largest Project Citizen    Read more >

GHS valedictorian wins K for science research


The whiz kid was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, one of 161 in the nation and the first student from GHS to receive that recognition in more than 14 years. He was the captain of the GHS math team, a member of the GHS We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution team, which competes in history contests, first chair in the band in the French horn and trombone sections, a contributor to the school newspaper, a three-year member of the tennis team and acted in the high school’s musical “Annie” at the end of May    Read more >

Staples Students: “We The People”


Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, “I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.” Do you agree or disagree with Justice Holmes? Why? That’s a tough question. It takes a ton of work just to understand what Holmes said — let alone figure out what you think, then devise arguments for or against it. It’s especially hard for a teenager. But    Read more >

'We the People’ topic of next LWV luncheon


“Promoting Civic Pride and Competency in Our Schools” will be the topic presented by Collin K. Gruver at the Monday Lunch with the League in Whitlock Hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church from noon to 1 p.m. Gruver, director of civic education programs of the Indiana Bar Foundation, will explain “We the People,” an extraordinary program focused on enhancing students’ understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy and discovering the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The public is invited to learn how this program works and determine if “We the People” might deserve    Read more >

Dion was featured speaker at Indiana We The People Summer Institute


Robert Dion, University of Evansville chair of the Department of Law, Politics, and Society, was a featured speaker at the Indiana We The People Summer Institute held at Indiana University in Bloomington from July 9-13. The event, sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation with funding from the Indiana General Assembly, brought together high school and middle school government teachers from Indiana and neighboring states for intensive training on the U.S. Constitution and how it affects modern politics. Professor Dion gave a three hour presentation examining how and why presidential powers have expanded since the American Founding, along    Read more >

We the People - A Great Investment


Last week I had the privilege of attending the annual We the People Teacher's Institute in Bloomington. I served as a judge, as the teachers put on the same type of mock-Congressional hearings they soon will be asking their students to present. It was inspiring to see so many teachers, some new and some experienced, excited about taking We the People into their respective schools and classrooms. I am sure there were some nerves, but the enthusiasm of the teachers overcame any anxiety, and the presentations were a pleasure to participate in. I also had the opportunity to address the group on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Bar    Read more >

Schererville teacher leads elementary education in civics at state event


Donna Spivak, a teacher at Michael Grimmer Middle School in Schererville, led professional development training for other teachers in "We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution" on July 9-13. Spivak was one of 48 teachers from Indiana attending the training, where they received 32 hours of professional educational certification. The "We the People" educational model teaches elementary, middle school and high school students about the institutions of American democracy and contemporary application of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. After a semester of classroom instruction and work in small groups, the students present    Read more >

Trumbull has Connecticut History Teacher of the Year


Trumbull High School teacher Katie Boland has been named the 2017 Connecticut History Teacher of the Year. The award is presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History,an organization dedicated to K-12 American history education. Since 2004, the award has been given to one teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. In fall 2017, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners. Boland has been teaching 15 years, the last seven at Trumbull High School. Before that, she taught history at Harding High School in Bridgeport.    Read more >

Urban youth find power in the Constitution through We the People


Robert Walls is a problem solver. If you tell him you have tried everything and nothing seems to work, Walls sees it as a challenge to find something that will. In 2006, Walls was asked to judge the national “We the People” competition in Washington, D.C. What surprised this Indianapolis resident and retired public school administrator was that among the 1,500 teens participating in the event, less than a half dozen were African-American. Convinced that he could add diversity to the competition, his first step was to speak with Robert Leming, the director of the national Center for Civic Education, the organization that runs the    Read more >

Democracy demands vigilance


The horrific, apparently politically motivated shooting in Alexandria, Va., and the news that President Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation, provide a grim reminder of the social, economic and legal conditions integral to the preservation of American democracy. The core values of our system forbid resort to violence against those who seek or serve in public office. They require economic conditions that would diminish the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. And they demand from governmental officials rigorous adherence to constitutional principles and legal norms, the essence of the rule of law. Particular social    Read more >

Grant scholars place second in national competition called We the People


Grant High School’s constitution team met Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the students’ April visit to Washington, D.C. The team also amassed 3,870 points in questioning about constitutional issues. Alas, that wasn’t enough to keep the “We the People” national title in Oregon, as has been the case for four years. However, it was enough for Grant’s 32 seniors, who were state winners, to place second in the national competition. The national winners, from the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Va., received 3,880 points. “The    Read more >

We the People in Jackson Hole


Twenty-two Jackson Hole High School students recently competed at the national finals of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, held in Washington, D.C., in late April. The student participants included Kylie Anderson, Conor Butler, Emma Caulkins, Lane Centrella, Hannah Clancy, Aliea Ednie, Jack Eidemiller, Matias Encina, Brian Feuz and Mataya Foster. Students Carlos Hernandez, Ismael Jimenez, Ben Klausman, Bailey Larson, Noah Michalski, Gillian Ponce, Klancy Poor, Steve Shea, Jenny Stearns, Jamie Vargas, Silvia Vetturi and Tiffanni Walker also participated in the east coast event. Jackson Hole High School was awarded a “wildcard    Read more >

Students demonstrate constitutional knowledge at state showcase


Columbiana South Side Middle School students joined more than 150 other Ohio students in Columbus for the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase. The showcase took place at the Columbus State Community College and the South Side students were the only ones from Columbiana County to participate. Other students that participated were from Columbus East High School and Gahanna Middle School South of Franklin County, Middleburg Heights Junior High School in Cuyahoga County, Sycamore Junior High School in Hamilton County, and Trotwood-Madison Middle School in Montgomery County. We the People is a    Read more >

Greenwich High history students earn college credit


Tucked in the upper reaches of Greenwich High’s Cantor House is the classroom of Aaron Hull, a tall, pepper-haired history teacher and a University of Connecticut Early College Experience Adjunct Professor. At the close of a busy school year, students chattered in groups and pounded the keys of their laptops surrounded by shelves of constitutional law books, plaques from state law competitions hanging above them. The course was “We The People,” a blend of U.S. Government and Comparative Politics — students take both AP tests — and study the Constitution in-depth in order to compete in state and national “We the People”    Read more >

"Hard Work Is The Great Equalizer", Sky View's 'We The People' On Competing In D...


This story from Utah Public Radio profiles Sky View High School's We the People team. Teacher Michael Rigby said, “It is paramount that these kids understand democratic processes. Regardless of what they do they’ll be active members in the community. They’ve done some longitudinal studies, the statistics show that well over 90 percent of these students become active voters, and they become politically and civically engaged    Read more >

We the People Hearing


J.L. Bowler Elementary School fifth grade students participated in a simulated congressional hearing Thursday, May 18th, as a part of the “We the People” program. “We the People . . . The Citizen and the Constitution” is a nationally acclaimed civic education program about the history and philosophy of the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights    Read more >

Eighth-grade Civics class wins national We the People Invitational


An eighth-grade Civics class at Fishers Junior High School recently won the national We the People Invitational in Washington, D.C. The event tests teams’ knowledge of the U.S. government by simulating congressional hearings. Each team is divided into six units that focus on a particular part of government. “Each of the six units sat in front of judges and read a four-minute prepared statement to a prompt they knew in advance. Then they had six minutes of follow-up questions by the judges. We had no idea in advance what they were going to ask,” said Mike Fassold, the team’s sponsor and teacher. The students tried out as seventh-    Read more >

Plainfield High School takes fourth in 'We the People' contest


A few weeks ago, two high school teams from Indiana attended the We the People Competition in Washington, D.C. Plainfield High School, along with Cathedral High School, joined nearly 60 other teams from around the country at the National Conference Center on Capitol Hill. In the competition, students are given questions on the Constitution to study and are directed to discuss those topics in hearing rooms with lawmakers and other officials during the competition. “Being able to take students to Washington, D.C., was an incredible experience,” Plainfield High School AP government teacher and We the People coach Chris Cavanaugh said    Read more >



Representative Young recognized Fishers Junior High Schools' We the People team    Read more >

Fishers Junior High captures national civics title: ‘It’s pretty surreal’


Fishers proved it's home to some of the brightest, civically-educated minds in the country after one of its junior high classes won a national championship    Read more >

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Claims National Championship


The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School “We the People” team placed first in the nation in The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals, held at the National Conference Center in the Washington D.C. area, April 21 through 24, 2017. The team of twenty-four seniors, coached by Sam Ulmschneider, claimed the regional championship title in a competition at Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center in 2016. Earlier this year, the team won the state championship, which was hosted by University of Virginia. This win marks the third national championship for MLWGS in the 30-year history of this competition    Read more >