November 2020 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

Thank You to Our Network, Alumni Leadership Council Meets, National Advisory Council Forms, and More in This Month's Newsletter.

Giving Thanks to Our Network This Holiday Season: Center Receives More Than 1,000 Responses to Survey

A survey of the Center's network this fall was completed by over a thousand people, more than 75% of whom are educators. Christopher R. Riano, the Center's president, commissioned the survey to solicit advice and feedback from the people served by the organization. "This information is tremendously valuable as I shape the strategy for the Center's future direction," said Riano. About 86% of respondents said their experience with the Center was good or excellent, and many provided constructive critiques on how to improve the organization. "I agree with so many of your comments that the core of our mission is inherently tied to equitably developing an enlightened citizenry by working to increase the understanding of the principles, values, institutions, and history of our constitutional democracy among teachers, students, and the general public," said Riano. "Thank you for all you do, and together we will continue to make the Center a strong, vibrant, collaborative organization with the catalytic impact of strengthening our democracy."

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We the People Alumni Leadership Council Meets

The newly formed We the People Alumni Leadership Council held its first meeting on November 6. The council is discussing ways to engage alumni of the Center's We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. "It is truly inspiring to see the dedication of this group of We the People alumni," said Center president Christopher R. Riano. "I'm looking forward to more fully involving other alumni in the important work of promoting civic education nationwide." The council is led by alumnus Jooho Lee, an assistant professor of business ethics and law at Pepperdine University. "The Alumni Leadership Council is beginning to strategize about how We the People alumni can support the work of the Center and provide engagement and networking opportunities for each other," said Lee. "We have assembled a diverse group of alumni who are dedicated to helping the Center, the We the People alumni, and our democracy thrive." Members of the council, who are all We the People alumni, include Jordan Baugh, senior policy advisor for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Anitere Flores, former Florida state senator; Kristine Hackman, vice president of policy and advocacy for $char_endash2 Broadband Association; Charles Hinderliter, director of government affairs for St. Louis REALTORS ®; Erin Lewis, interim executive director at the Center for Innovation and Change at the University of Evansville; and Brendan Oosse, director of student development at Chicago Hope Academy.

Alumni network

Sign Up for the We the People Alumni Network!

Are you an alum of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program? Join our We the People Alumni Network so that the Center for Civic Education can provide you with information about opportunities for continued involvement. Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes. Photo courtesy of Andie Petkus Photography.


Quick Quiz! Which of the following is an example of one of President Abraham Lincoln's executive actions during the Civil War?

A. Suspending the writ of habeas corpus
B. Canceling the presidential election of 1864
C. Fighting for America's entry into the League of Nations
D. Reducing the size of the army and navy

Read on to learn the answer!

National Advisory council

National Advisory Council Formed to Provide Strategic Advice to Center Leadership

The Center has formed a new National Advisory Council to provide insight to leadership and staff on strategic issues facing the organization, including advice on programming, communications, and long-term planning. "This point in our history calls for a renewed focus on effectively teaching young people the core civic principles that are fundamental to the healthy functioning of our representative democracy," said Christopher R. Riano, president of the Center for Civic Education. "We have assembled a diverse National Advisory Council representing a wide body of expertise that is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and keenly interested in moving civic education into the future." Ken Barnes, president and chief executive officer of Options for All, will serve as chairperson of the council.

Power to the People

Power to the People Wraps Up

The Center's Power to the People webinar series wrapped up on November 5 with a presentation on the power of the criminal justice system by Hernandez Stroud, counsel for the Justice Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law. You can watch the entire series from our Power to the People webpage or YouTube playlist. Power to the People was generously sponsored by Kansas State University, the Johnson County First Amendment Foundation, the Indiana Bar Foundation, and the Center for Civic Education.

Quiz Answer!

A. Suspending the writ of habeas corpus (see episode 4170)

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

LRE Teachers

Apply Today for the Law-Related Education Teacher of the Year Award

The American Lawyers Alliance is seeking nominations for the Law-Related Education Teacher of the Year Award. Four awards will honor high school teachers who have made significant contributions to law-related education. Nominations are due by March 15, 2021, and may be submitted by the applicant, school administrators, other teachers, students, lawyers, judges, professional members of the community, or any other interested parties. Visit the ALA website for information about the award, including information about previous winners. An online application is also available.

Learn more

Changemaker challenge

Calling All High School Changemakers!

The University of Evansville has launched its 6th Annual High School Changemaker Challenge. It is now virtual, and any junior or senior in high school in the world is eligible. The winning student from each of the four divisions will receive four-year, full-tuition scholarships to UE! Information at Video entries due by January 18, 2021. Individual entries only. Questions? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Register for the Eighth Annual Virtual Supreme Court Competition

The Harlan Institute and Ashbrook University have announced the Eighth Annual Virtual Supreme Court Competition. "The Center for Civic Education is excited to endorse the Virtual Supreme Court Competition," said Robert S. Leming, director of the We the People Programs. "The competition is relevant for high school students studying the Constitution and Bill of Rights." The competition offers teams of two high school students the opportunity to research cutting-edge constitutional law, write persuasive appellate briefs, argue against other students through video chats, and try to persuade a panel of esteemed attorneys during oral argument that their side is correct. This year, the competition focuses on Torres v. Madrid.

Learn more


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