March 2021 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

Leadership Summit on Civic Education Open for Registration, Deadline Approaching for Free American History and Civics Academies, and More in This Month's Newsletter.

Leadership Summit on Civic Education Now Open for Registration

Leadership Summit

We the People: A Leadership Summit on Civic Education is currently open for registration. The event, which will be held via Zoom on Friday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, will feature a conversation with key leaders in civic education: Christopher R. Riano, president of the Center for Civic Education; Dimitry Anselme, executive program director for professional learning and support at Facing History and Ourselves; David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute; Louise $char_change executive director of iCivics; Elizabeth Clay Roy, chief executive officer of Generation Citizen; Kerry Sautner, chief learning officer for the National Constitution Center; and Amanda Susskind, president of the Constitutional Rights Foundation. The Leadership Summit coincides with the start of the We the People National Finals, a nationwide civics competition involving 48 schools.



Apply by April 1 for Free American History and Civics Academies!

The Presidential Academy for high school teachers and Congressional Academy for high-need students will be held online from July 5 to 23 and are free for all participants. Applications are currently being accepted!

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Civics Secures Democracy

Support the Civics Secures Democracy Act

The Civics Secures Democracy Act [HR 1814] (formerly known as the Educating for Democracy Act) is a bipartisan bill that creates grants for states and districts to support and expand access to American history and civics to meet the needs of today's students and our constitutional democracy. We at the Center have been involved in supporting civic education legislation for decades, and encourage everyone to click here to learn how you can help.

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Alumni network

Educating for American Democracy Holds National Forum, Launches Roadmap and Report

Scholars and educators from Educating for American Democracy held an online national forum on March 2 to announce the Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy guidance and an inquiry framework that states, local school districts, and educators can use to transform teaching of history and civics to meet the needs of a diverse 21st-century K-12 student body. The group also issued a report, "Educating for American Democracy: Excellence in History and Civics for All Learners" (pdf). The Educating for American Democracy initiative was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education.

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Constitutional Toolkit

Constitutional Toolkit: Six-Week Webinar Series to Launch March 16

Join the Center for Civic Education and James Madison's Montpelier for Constitutional Toolkit, a six-part webinar series each Tuesday starting on James Madison's birthday, March 16, at 7 p.m. Eastern. Each 90-minute webinar will feature a scholar addressing key constitutional topics, such as rights, federalism, citizenship, law enforcement, challenges to the Constitution, and the right to vote. The series concludes on April 20. Scholars will help us dive into each subject based on your frequently asked questions. We will also be saving a significant amount of time for questions each week, so you can ask our scholars what is important to you.



Sign Up Today for the Free We the People in Context Webinar Series

The Center for Civic Education and Context Travel have joined forces to offer a unique virtual seminar series especially designed for We the People students, teachers, and alumni. Nationally renowned scholars will explore topics related to each unit of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution text in a six-week Thursday night series that begins on March 18 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Each 90-minute course will feature an extensive question-and-answer session where participants can engage with their instructors and each other. The series is free to We the People students, teachers, and alumni but space is limited! Just visit the registration page and check out using the promo code WethePeople100.


Marriage Equality

Center President Finalist for American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award

Center for Civic Education president Christopher R. Riano and William N. Eskridge, Jr., the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, were shortlisted for an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts for their book Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws. Winners will be announced on May 20.

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FBI Director Emphasizes Importance of Civic Education

In a recent livestreamed video from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, FBI Director Christopher Wray stressed the importance of civic education in ensuring the nation's security. Wray cited President Ronald Reagan's concept of "informed patriotism ... grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge," and stated that civic education should "create informed patriots who know our history and actually understand how our democratic institutions work." Wray mentioned the threats faced by the nation, such as malign foreign interference in American elections, as being usefully addressed by civic education. "At the end of the day, no amount of FBI investigating can, by itself, sufficiently insulate our country from this threat. Ultimately, our best defense is a well-informed public," said Wray. "Citizens who are thoughtful, discerning consumers of all the information that's out there and who have a solid understanding of how our democratic institutions work, an American public of informed patriots, will be a lot more resilient against these malign influence efforts, and that in turn will make it a lot harder for our adversaries to succeed."

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Quick Quiz! Which of the following statements is true?

A. In the colonial era, women had equal rights with men.
B. Women gained the right to vote in 1848.
C. The Nineteenth Amendment recognized the right of women to vote.
D. Women had no barriers to voting after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Read on to learn the answer!


Trumbull High School Creates We the People Recruitment Video

The creative students in Katie Boland's class at Trumbull High School in Connecticut have carried on the annual tradition of making a video to recruit next year's We the People students to join the class. This year's students appear in the video to describe what Boland's We the People class means to them. The Trumbull team will compete as a wildcard in this year's We the People National Finals.

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Women's History Month

Podcast Series and Lesson Plans Provide Compelling Way to Teach Women's History Month Civics Lessons

The Center for Civic Education is celebrating Women's History Month with a special 60-Second Civics podcast series dedicated to explaining the struggle for equal rights for women and how our Constitution and laws evolved to make our nation a more representative democracy. In addition, a variety of free lesson plans on women's suffrage and involvement in the civil rights movement are available for the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

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PEN America to Hold Global Free Expression Advocacy Online Workshop March 30-April 22

PEN America will hold a Global Free Expression Advocacy online workshop from March 30 to April 22. This specialized program will offer students advanced training on free expression issues as they pertain to international human rights law, global NGOs and the U.N., and case work PEN America focuses on. The program was inspired by feedback from PEN America's existing students and alumni who requested more globally focused studies and opportunities to support real advocacy in action. In that spirit, student project groups will be focused on supporting actual advocacy work PEN America is pursuing with close supervision and mentorship from our Institute directors and the FEP team. The program has a tuition of $1,000 per student, but PEN America emphasizes that cost should not be a barrier to anyone interested in applying. PEN America can offer generous financial aid to those who apply for it.

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Quiz Answer!

C. The Nineteenth Amendment recognized the right of women to vote. (see episode 4271)

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


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