Center in the News
  • Herald exclusive: Pakistan’s experience with democracy - Pakistan
    Zafarullah Khan, a prominent Pakistani civic education leader, posted an interesting article in which he cites experience with democracy in Pakistan. He cites three "myths" about Pakistani democracy: Myth 1 — the Presidential system is more suitable than the messy parliamentary architecture; Myth 2 — The Constitution does not address core critical issues and does not offer bread and butter assistance; and Myth 3 — The Peoples’ part of the Constitution – fundamental rights and the Principles of Policy (Article 8-40) – has never been implemented. By

  • Freedom of speech is here to stay thanks to the U.S. Constitution : Highland News
    Wednesday, schools across the region will take some time to learn about how our Constitution affects us now and how we came to this unique structure. I say unique because, 200 years in, we represent that last best hope for humanity, a nation that rules from the bottom up. After a lifetime of studying history, I return to the best thing that ever happened in my understanding of the founding of our nation - amazing work done every year by students given the opportunity to learn and apply their knowledge about our Constitution and Bill of Rights. "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" has been a part of the education fabric in Northwest Indiana since the late 1980s, teaching students about the Constitution in a challenging way. The program is not a series of dry lectures, but a chance for students to draw on their research of the Constitutional Convention and two centuries of court cases to bring their expertise to bear on contemporary issues.

  • Educators Need to Renew Focus on Civic Education | San Jose Inside
    Joseph Di Salvo writes about Senator Feinstein’s recent “fireside chat” on a number of pressing topics. Among the topics was Senator Feinstein’s concern about the need to renew the schools’ focus on civic education. Feinstein told the room that when she hosts a group of students in Washington, DC she is appalled at the lack of information they have about their own government. For Mr.Di Salvo this is a "crisis as threatening to the future of democracy as jihadists and cyber attacks. Just as the President will address the nation about a strategy to defeat ISIS, he should call for a plan to address the dearth of civics literacy among our K-12 students." He wrote affectionately about Norma Wright, who worked with the Center For Civic Education in Calabasas, Calif., and promoted the importance of teaching especially at-risk youth the importance of law-related education. Learning about the way the government and legal system work give children opportunity and skills to succeed in life.

  • The voter turnout conundrum in L.A. - LA Times
    It's one of the worst ideas we've heard in a long time: Last week, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission floated a plan to offer cash prizes as an incentive to get Angelenos to vote in local elections. Sheer desperation, as far as we can tell, led the commission to propose an election day lottery, with a jackpot of $1,000 or more that might persuade more registered voters to go to the polls. Would it work? Probably. But it's still a bad idea. L.A. is certainly not the only city that suffers from low participation in local elections. But here, as elsewhere, reviving civic engagement may require big changes in how residents are educated and representatives are chosen. Here are some ways to start: Teach civics in schools. Most CA students take one American government class that is more focused on the federal system and on memorization of facts, rather than on what it means to be a citizen. Less than half of high school seniors feel a responsibility to be involved in state and local issues.

  • Margaret Branson Honored by PEO International
    Center for Civic Education's Associate Director Margaret Branson is being honored by the service organization PEO International as a "Champion for Education." On page 17 of the PEO Record is an article attesting to her many extraordinary qualities. "She has shared her gifts of wisdom, experience and dedication with leaders of states, governments and nations. Margaret has an incredible depth of understanding of worldwide human rights catastrophes and celebrations. When home, she blesses her (community) with yearly programs that give us insight into her realm and made us feel important in her lifelong journey of love and giving. Margaret, our Golden Girl, has taught us that in the current, dramatic demands for freedom throughout the world, there is no more important task than the development of an informed, effective and responsible citizenry."

  • Nat Hentoff on Rand Paul and We the People | Cato Institute
    Nat Hentoff writes that "what’s...alarming for our future as a self-governing republic is that so few public schools...have mandated courses in...the ever-dramatic story of how our Constitution has been rescued from regal presidents and their Congresses." He referred to the Center for Civic Education as an "organization devoted to increasing awareness among students of all backgrounds on what it is to be—and keep being—an American." He particularly cited "the national 'We the People Programs,' as "a yearning of mine come true...." "The Center partners with a network of 50 state civics, government and law programs sponsored by state bar associations and foundations, colleges and universities, and other civic and law nonprofit organizations to promote teaching and learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.” He thinks the National Finals should be televised and Members of Congress could be part of the audience. He wonders why the program isn't more broadly covered by the media.

  • Democracy in decline: Report votes for training better citizens | Modesto Bee
    While complaining about government is as popular as ever, voting appears to be losing its red, white and blue appeal. A yearlong California state study released last week waved red flags at the state of civics education and urged updated lessons be taught in every grade. The report quotes Robert Ruckman, a We the People teacher at Arvin High School: “There is not a magic (power) that comes down on your 18th birthday and hits you with a wand and says, ‘Now you are a great citizen, go out there and do it.’ You have to teach this.” The Stanislaus County Office of Education will again hold a Project Citizen program, said district coordinator Danielle Jones. “Students identify a community need, then do research on that,” The goal is to help students go from complaining to doing. “It’s really teaching them about the process,” Jones said.

  • Task force urges remake of civic education | EdSource
    A state task force is calling for a revival in civics education, transforming it from “an afterthought” – an undervalued social studies class – to a core element of study and community engagement. The California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning, commissioned by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, issued its final report this week. It urges a new approach to civic learning, which it defines as “cultivating the qualities that will enable all students to mature and participate in our democracy.” The 23-member task force was co-chaired by David Gordon, Sacramento County superintendent of schools, and Judith McConnell, administrative presiding justice of California’s 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego. Charles Quigley of the Center for Civic Education was a consultant to the Task Force.

  • Gahanna We the People Teacher To Accept National Teacher of the Year Honors
    Gahanna Middle School South teacher Mike Browning will receive the American Lawyers Alliance 2014 National Middle School Law-Related Teacher of the Year Award at its annual meeting on Friday in Boston. Browning has taught social studies for more than 25 years at both the middle and high school levels, and currently teaches eighth grade American History. Since 2008, Browning has implemented the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum in his classroom. We the People, administered in Ohio by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, focuses on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. “Mike is an example of what a teacher should be. He engages his students in rigorous, academic activities that teach the content in an enjoyable fashion,” said nominator Lisa Eschleman, OCLRE executive director.

  • Greenwich High Students Earn Essay-Writing Honors | The Greenwich Daily Voice
    Nine students from Greenwich High School won local, state and national essay contest awards during the 2013-14 school year. The essay contests were part of the We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Honors Civics and AP Government and Comparative Politics courses at Greenwich High, taught by Aaron Hull and Megan Roby. “The outside juried process of the essay competitions gives the students an opportunity to engage in multiple modalities of the Vision of the Graduate – pose and pursue substantive questions; communicate effectively for a given purpose; critically interpret, evaluate and synthesize information; and advocate for ideas, causes and actions – to name a few,” said Hull. “The advantages of engaging, through research and writing, with members of the community locally and nationally are profound. I am incredibly proud of our students who take on these challenges to hone their analytic abilities and improve their writing and communication skills,” he said.