January 2017 Newsletter


News from the Center for Civic Education

We the People celebrates 30 years, opportunities for educators, and more in this month's newsletter.

The Year Ahead in Civic Education

We hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a peaceful holiday season. Here at the Center, we are greeting 2017 with gusto! The year ahead is jam-packed with exciting holidays, Center events, workshops, and a wealth of other opportunities to be civically engaged. To learn about everything we have to offer you this year, be sure to read The Year Ahead on our blog. Then, mark your calendars!

Teach the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 16

The annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on Monday, January 16. With Black History Month coming up in February, this is a wonderful time of year for educators to teach the legacy of one of history's most profound activists. The Center has readings, teacher resources, and podcasts to help build your lesson plan.

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Calling All Educators! Join Our Professional Development Opportunity This Summer

From July 8-29, 2017, professional educators have the opportunity to join our National Academy for Civics and Government Summer Institute, "Political and Constitutional Theory for Citizens." The renowned institute is open to teachers of private or public high schools, middle schools, and upper elementary schools. Scholar William Harris of the University of Pennsylvania will act as director. Previous participants have lauded the program, saying, "This has been by far the greatest professional endeavor of my career as a teacher. From now on I'll refer to my teaching as 'before the academy' and 'after the academy.'" For complete information and an application please click here.

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We the People Curriculum Connects With Missouri Prisoners

In 2013, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Russell received a letter from a local inmate requesting more civic education in prisons. Since then, Judge Russell and the Missouri Bar Association have worked to bring civic education to more than 70 inmates. The response to the We the People curriculum has been overwhelmingly positive. Lawyer and teacher Thomas Limbrick says, "I taught about the freedoms of speech and religion. I am passionate about both topics and many of the men were passionate as well. These topics touch everyone's lives." The program has plans to continue and expand.

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Mark Molli Meets with Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows

Center Associate Director Mark J. Molli (center) met recently with Ms. Glanis Changachirere (left), executive director of the Institute for Young Women Development in Zimbabwe, and Ms. Hajar Alkuhtany (right), executive director of the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue. Ms. Changachirere and Ms. Alkuhtany are current Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C.

2017 Marks 30th Anniversary of We the People

We are ringing in a very special New Year, as the We the People program turns 30 years old! For the past three decades, We the People has reached thousands of students and teachers across the country, and continues to grow. We'll keep you posted with the latest news as we get ready to head to the We the People National Finals at the National Conference Center in Washington, D.C. this April!

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Is Literature the Key to Civic Education?

With many schools facing budget cuts and shrinking programs, some teachers are wondering if literature might be the key to keeping civic education alive in the classroom. David Kirkland, assistant professor at New York University's Department of Teaching and Learning, suggests that works of fiction, such as the novels of Mark Twain, provide excellent opportunities for discussing the sociopolitical climate of our nation.

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In Tennessee, Civic Education Mandatory for High School Graduation

A new law passed in Tennessee requires all high school students to pass a civic education exam in order to be eligible for graduation. The exam will be composed of questions used in the United States citizenship exam, which include details about U.S. history, democracy, and governmental structures. Students will need to score at least a 70% in order to pass. In 2012, Tennessee became the first state to test students' civics knowledge through an individualized, project-based curriculum.

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High Schoolers Gear Up for We the People State Finals

January is a busy month for high schoolers across the nation as they prepare for We the People state finals competitions, the last round of hearings before the National Finals in April. In January, 25 competitions will take place, and 10 more will be held in February. For a complete schedule, check the We the People calendar here. We wish the best of luck to all students participating.

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Shop Amazon to Support the Center for Civic Education

Shopping on Amazon? Use this link to benefit We the People and the Center's other civic education programs. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Center for Civic Education. You pay the same price for your purchases, but you have the satisfaction of knowing you've helped students receive the high-quality civic education they deserve. Bookmark the link and keep giving all year with every purchase.



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