August 2020 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

Learn About Controversial Issues Facing Our Nation with a Series of Seven Webinars, We the People Elementary Textbook Now Available in a Digital Edition, and More in This Month's Newsletter.

Power to the People Webinars Address Key Issues in an Election Year

Power to the People Webinars

The Center for Civic Education is hosting a series of seven free webinars on a range of issues that will be hot topics in We the People classrooms this election year. The Power to the People series launches on Constitution Day, September 17, with a review of recent Supreme Court cases by U.S. District Judge Mae Avila D'Agostino and Center for Civic Education President Christopher R. Riano. Subsequent webinars will feature scholars addressing Native American sovereignty, the Nineteenth Amendment and social movements, controversies surrounding monuments and flags, the criminal justice system, free speech, and voting rights. Robert S. Leming, national director of the We the People Programs, will co-host the webinar series with Thomas Vontz, professor and director of the Center for Social Studies Education at Kansas State University. "These webinars provide teachers, students, and citizens opportunities to consider important public issues a non-partisan environment," said Vontz. He added that these issues are especially important as everyone prepares for an election. Sessions are free, last 1.5 hours, and registration is required. The Power to the People webinar series is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, Kansas State University, and the Indiana Bar Foundation.

Learn more. Donate.

Please Give

Please Give to Support Civic Education

We rely on the support of people like you to provide teaching materials and free professional development opportunities for teachers, such as our Power to the People webinars. Please consider making a donation today. Your contribution will help strengthen our representative democracy in these times of upheaval and uncertainty.


Elementary Ebook

We the People Upper Elementary Ebook Now Available on Actively Learn

The Center has released an enhanced ebook edition of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution Level 1 textbook for upper elementary students and their teachers, just in time for schools entering a new era of remote and blended learning. This is the first time the We the People upper elementary text has been available as an enhanced ebook. This digital version of the fourth edition (copyright 2020), features interactive exercises, a built-in gradebook, integration with Google Classroom, and more. Pricing is $9.00 per user, per year. To order, email the Center for Civic Education at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To view a sample lesson, sign up for a free account on Actively Learn.

PC National Showcase

Project Citizen National Showcase Held Despite Challenges of Pandemic

The Center held the 2020 National Showcase for Project Citizen on August 4 and 5. Due to COVID-19, the entire showcase was conducted electronically, with students submitting slideshows, videos, and documents instead of the traditional four-panel portfolios and binders. Students from Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York addressed problems in their community ranging from the school curriculum to school safety and much more.

Learn more.

PEN America

Students: Apply by September 18 for the PEN America Free Speech Advocacy Institute

Across the country, young people are witnessing the exercise of peaceful assembly rights, journalists working hard to keep citizens informed, heated debates over social media censorship, and tensions arising over the future of our democracy as we gear up for a contentious election season. Against this backdrop, PEN America has announced its Free Speech Advocacy Institute for talented and ambitious high school students this fall. This one-of-a-kind professional certificate program meets virtually after school on Thursdays from October 1 through November 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EDT. Applications are due September 18: Apply today!

Learn more.

Marriage Equality Book

New Book Co-Authored by Center President Christopher R. Riano Published by Yale University Press

Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws, written by Christopher R. Riano, the newly appointed president of the Center, and William N. Eskridge, Jr., the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, was published on August 18 by Yale University Press. Eskridge and Riano offer a panoramic and definitive history of America's marriage equality debate. The authors explore the deeply religious, rabidly political, frequently administrative, and pervasively constitutional features of the debate and consider all angles of its dramatic history. While giving a full account of the legal and political issues, the authors never lose sight of the personal stories of the people involved, or of the central place the right to marry holds in a person's ability to enjoy the dignity of full citizenship. This is not a triumphalist or one-sided book but a thoughtful history of how the nation wrestled with an important question of moral and legal equality.

Learn more.

Quick Quiz! In the case of Ex Parte Merryman, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that the president did not have the authority to

A. grant reprieves and pardons for federal offenses.
B. act as the commander in chief without the consent of Congress.
C. call up soldiers from the state militias.
D. suspend habeas corpus without the consent of Congress.

Read on to learn the answer!

Social Studies Innovation

Social Studies Innovation Network Offers Collection of Distance-Learning Resources

The Social Studies Innovation Network has released Social Studies Distance-Learning Resources, 2020-2021, a collection of interactive websites, games, and curricular materials that can be used by social studies teachers in blended- and remote-learning settings, as well as traditional classrooms. The Social Studies Innovation Network is a recently formed group of curriculum and learning-game developers dedicated to advancing innovative approaches in the teaching and learning of social studies content. The Center for Civic Education is a founding member of the network. The collection includes the Center's remote-learning platform, which features two free online resources for teachers: the We the People Open Course and the Strengthening Democracy in America online course and video series. "One of the core challenges facing social studies teachers is the lack of teaching and learning materials that are backed by research," said Christopher R. Riano, president of the Center for Civic Education. "This collection fills that gap. We are delighted to contribute our teacher professional development courses, including the We the People Open Course, which is backed by research conducted by Georgetown University professor Diana Owen and her team at the Civic Education Research Lab."

Learn more.

Student-Created Lessons

Student-Created Lesson Plans for Civics and Government Teachers

Youthivism is a completely student-run organization providing nonpartisan current-events curricula for middle and high school teachers. Each lesson consists of an animated video, a discussion-based game, and a take-home activity. To adapt to school closures, Youthivism has modified all its activities for online schooling. Here you can find an example curriculum and sign up to receive curriculum every two weeks!

Learn more.

Quiz Answer!

D. suspend habeas corpus without the consent of Congress. (see episode 4083)

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


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