April 2020 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

Online We the People National Finals Challenge Takes Place, Three Teachers Receive Awards, Voting Lessons Available, and More in This Month's Newsletter.

Easthampton High School Places First in Online We the People National Finals Challenge


Easthampton High School in Massachusetts, led by teacher Kelley Brown, placed first in the 2020 We the People National Finals Challenge, held online on April 25 and 26. Lincoln High School from Portland, Oregon, placed second and Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies from Richmond, Virginia, was third. The event was the first-ever online We the People National Finals Challenge, held live using Zoom. Thirty classes and more than 600 students testified on the Constitution and contemporary issues facing American representative democracy after months of intensive preparation. You can find the full list of the award winners and view the awards announcement here. 

Learn more.

ACETA Winners

American Civic Education Teacher Award Winners Announced

The American Civic Education Teacher Awards for 2020 are (from left to right) Aaron Hull of Greenwich High School in Connecticut, Ashley Vascik of Boonsboro High School in Maryland, and Erin Merrill of Pennington Traditional School in Virginia. The awards are given to teachers of civics, government, and related subjects who have demonstrated exceptional expertise, dynamism and creativity in motivating students to learn about the Constitution, U.S. government at the federal, state, and local levels, and public policy. ACETA is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University, and the National Education Association.

Learn more.

2020 Academies

Postponement of the 2020 Presidential and Congressional Academies

For the health and well-being of all participants, the Center is postponing the 2020 American History and Civics Academies for high school teachers and high-need students. Due to ongoing concerns with the coronavirus, the two-week residential institutes will be postponed until the summer of 2021. Thank you to everyone who applied and is supporting this opportunity! 

Voting Lessons

Voting Lessons Available for Grades 5-12

Looking to teach voting in time for the 2020 presidential election? The Center is pleased to offer free voter education lesson plans for upper elementary, middle, and high school students. Citizens, Not Spectators demystifies the voting process by teaching students how to cast a vote, how the voting process works, how to become an informed voter, and why it is important to cast an informed vote. Citizens, Not Spectators was developed through a cooperative effort by the Center for Civic Education and the Arsalyn Program of Ludwick Family Foundation.

Learn more.

Global Best Teacher

Global Best Teacher Prize Recipient Acknowledges Project Citizen

David Massiah (right), a headteacher in Chile, recently received the English Speaking Union's Global Best Teacher Prize. Massiah, who previously worked in Peru and other countries, included the Project Citizen leadership team in Peru in his acknowledgements and emphasized the importance of students to be empowered to change or create public policies to solve local public problems through Project Citizen. Instituto Peruano de Educación en Derechos Humanos y la Paz is the Center's Civitas International Programs partner leading Project Citizen in Peru.

Quick Quiz! When George Washington was elected president, who was his first secretary of state? 

A. Alexander Hamilton
B. John Adams
C. Thomas Jefferson
D. Henry Knox

Read on to learn the answer!

Potential Tax Benefit

Potential Tax Benefit from Charitable Donations Under CARES Act

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) this spring. People donating to nonprofit organizations, such as the Center for Civic Education, can now claim a $300 maximum deduction if they do not itemize their deductions. If they do itemize, the cap on annual contributions has been lifted to 100 percent of adjusted gross income. There are benefits for corporate charitable donations, too. The law applies to contributions made in 2020. Check with your tax advisor for details.


Quiz Answer!

C. Thomas Jefferson (see episode 3961) 

For more quizzes and learning opportunities, check out the 60-Second Civics podcast and daily civics quiz!

Election Edge

Election Edge Offers Voting Curriculum Free Until September 2020

Take the mystery and complexity out of the United States presidential election process. Tackle tricky topics such as the Electoral College and the primary system without the political agendas. Predict election outcomes without dealing with politically charged advertisements in the classroom. Whether you teach elementary or high school, Election Edge brings the presidential election system to life!

Learn more.


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