Center in the News
  • An article by Donna Paoletti Phillips on "Embodied Civic Education"
    In this journal article We the People teacher Donna Paoletti Phillips writes about "Embodied civic education: The corporeality of a civil body politic." Quoting Margaret Branson, Phillips notes that "Some scholars claim that knowledge of the values and principles of democracy may be the most significant component of education for democratic citizenship, because when democratic norms are well understood they may have a kind of “grip on the mind” that makes them operate at a deeply internalized if not unconscious level. Dr. Phillips takes this notion "one step further and suggests that civic education establishes not only a “grip on the mind” but also a grip on the body.

  • Florida teacher and his students endorse We the People
    Cynics will tell you that people don't care enough about our country anymore, and the proof is in an apathetic, uninformed citizenry. There is some basis for their lament. In 2011 Newsweek magazine gave the basic citizenship test, that is given to immigrants, to 1,000 American citizens. A shameful 38 percent of the test-takers failed. Well, for all those naysayer, meet Doug “Buddy” Oswald's American Government students. Oswald, a lawyer turned teacher in the school system's Career Academy, put his charges' knowledge of their government and political system on display as part of the statewide “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition. It was impressive. It was humbling. It was enough to restore one's faith — if one had lost faith — in America's future. Every student participates, indeed engages, in the competition. “It's important,” Oswald said of the learning that precedes the competition. “This is the only way our government is going to survive."

  • David Adler: Efforts to boost civic knowledge deserve support |
    Professor David Adler writes that "In the last few years, surveys and assessments have disclosed a stunning lack of knowledge of basic facts about our governmental system. The alarming deficit in civic literacy threatens the future of the republic. Meaningful participation in politics can't be guided by ideological passions alone. Americans need civics tools to understand, critique and criticize governmental programs, policies and laws. Remedies are at hand. The US Senate passed Senate Resolution 427, expressing the sense of the Senate on the importance of effective civic education programs in our nation's schools. Congress should restore full funding to the Education for Democracy Act, which had funded, for roughly 25 years, the admirable education programs of the Center for Civic Education, an institution that enjoyed the full support and enthusiasm of former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, and graduated millions of students across the nation.

  • Civics Can Succeed: Preparing Young Citizens Through We the People | Journal of Civic Literacy
    In the new Journal of Civic Literacy, Charles Dunlap writes that he recently "had the opportunity to witness students from Indiana testify on Capitol Hill about the US Constitution. This was not a normal congressional hearing. It was the final round of competition in the national We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. This program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. I wish every Hoosier could witness what the students in this program accomplish. Classes from 56 schools from around the country competed during this three-day national competition and the top 10 schools competed on the third day on Capitol Hill. As the Executive Director of the Indiana Bar Foundation which is the administering agency for Indiana’s We the People program, I have had the good fortune to see many schools from Indiana compete at our state competition as well as at the national competition."

  • Teaching civics is crucial for our future - Spokesman Mobile
    Former Congressman George Nethercutt of Washington wrote that Senators Ben Cardin, Md., and Charles Grassley, Iowa, introduced Senate Resolution 427, a measure expressing the sense of the Senate on the importance of effective civic education programs in our nation’s schools. The resolution passed the next day. Washington state is trying, too. The state now requires one semester of civics to graduate high school, but more is necessary. Intensive civic learning is largely absent from America’s schools. Sadly, national surveys that test Americans’ civic knowledge periodically show a nation ignorant about American history, government, economics and foreign policy. Mr. Nethercutt notes that programs such as We the People exist to address the insufficiency of civics in the schools, and that these programs require good teachers, such as Holly Kartchner, who recently took a student team to the national “We the People” competition in Washington, D.C.

  • National Standards for Civics and Government Helped Create the Citizenship Exam
    They are basic American history and government queries you'll find in a Civics 101 course, but few of her American friends knew the answers. England native Philippa Reid was stunned. Here she was studying for the 100-question U.S. citizenship civics test, which must be passed to become a citizen, and her American-born friends didn't know how many amendments are in the Constitution, the three rights in the Declaration of Independence or who Susan B. Anthony was. Citizenship test A panel of education experts along with the association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages created the citizenship civics test. A review of government authorized civics and citizenship exams, the U.S. Department of Education's National Standards for Civics and Government and a previous naturalization test also played a role. The current civics test, which is similar to queries in an average Civics 101 class, was redesigned in 2008. The 100-question test replaced a 96-question exam.

  • 'We the People' students do Rhode Island proud | The Valley Breeze
    North Smithfield's freshmen We the People students have once again brought pride to our school, our community, and our state. From April 4-8, 32 young men and women traveled to Washington, D.C. for five days to represent Rhode Island in the National Invitational. The students participated in mock Congressional hearings over three days and answered a myriad of questions regarding our constitutional, historical, and political issues. The students were challenged by an impressive panel of judges to defend their views and explain their thinking. The parents, family members, Center for Civic Education employees, judges, and chaperones were all very impressed with the students' presentations. In fact, at the end of the second day of competition a judge from Massachusetts boldly proclaimed that these students must be "the best freshmen class in the nation!"

  • Presque Isle students brighten up downtown—Bangor Daily News
    Sophomores at Presque Isle High School recently cut class and were seen hanging out in a downtown alleyway. However, they weren’t reprimanded or punished, but instead praised for their efforts as they were working on a downtown beautification project. Since August, students in LeRae Kinney’s civics class have been involved in Project Citizen, a national curricular program that promotes participation in local and state government. “I’ve incorporated the mission of Project Citizen into my curriculum at the high school level. I thought it was an awesome opportunity to get the kids out into the community and to make a difference,” said Kinney. “This project also meets one of the Maine Learning Results standards for social studies. It seemed like a fun way to meet the standards and for the kids to realize that they can make a difference.”

  • A chance for something nice - VOICE of the Valley Online News
    Recently, the front page of the VOICE featured students from Tahoma High School’s We the People team receiving recognition for their outstanding accomplishments. Our City and the parents of the team members have reason for pride. Thanks go to all the We the People members and to their coach, Gretchen Wulfing, for putting Tahoma High School and the City of Maple Valley on the map of success. Reading about our kids’ accomplishments started me thinking about how fortunate we are to have a school district like Tahoma. We also have a community of businesses that have consistently provided financial support to our kids. Without their support, many of our students could not travel and participate in competitions across the state or across the country. For almost half a century we have been fortunate to have our own family-oriented newspaper, the VOICE of the Valley, that helps us keep close to all the happenings in our community.

  • We the People Alumna Kelsey Brewer appointed to CSU Board of Trustees
    Governor Jerry Brown has announced the appointment of We the People alumna Kelsey Brewer to the California State University Board of Trustees. Brewer has been a student at California State University, Fullerton since 2012 and is pursuing a degree in political science. She has been chief governmental officer for the California State University, Fullerton Associated Students Incorporated since 2014, where she has been a member since 2012 and has been an intern and clerk at Klein DeNatale and Goldner LLP since 2013. Brewer is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and California State University, Fullerton’s team for the Up To Us Competition by the Clinton Global Initiative.