September 2016 Newsletter

The Center commemorates Constitution Day in this month's newsletter.

Constitution Day Survey: Americans Do Not Know Much About the Constitution, But They Support Its Basic Ideas

The Center for Civic Education and Professor Diana Owen of Georgetown University released the results of a Constitution Day survey that found that only 14 percent of Americans think they know a lot about the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. However, there is widespread agreement on many of the basic ideas they contain. Learn more (pdf).

Effective Civic Education Produces Informed Voters

In an article for a special Constitution Day feature of the Washington Times, Center executive director Charles N. Quigley writes that "civic education in the schools is the one common experience American citizens share that helps them acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge and attitudes that prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives." Learn more.

Teach Constitution Day with Free Lessons from the Center for Civic Education

Educators across the country are teaching Constitution Day this year with free, downloadable lesson plans from the Center for elementary, middle, and high schools. Check out the ever-popular Constitution Day Rap for elementary classrooms. This innovative lesson explores the lives of the Framers through a series of one-minute podcasts. Learn more.

Almost a Decade of Project Citizen in New Holstein
By Heather Tomchek

In 2007, I took a class about Project Citizen in Denver, Colorado. There, I was introduced to what the project was and how to teach it. It was here that I conducted my first project— "BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag." The project was on the effects of plastic bags in our environment. Through this experience, I was probably one of the first people in Appleton, Wisconsin, to use reusable bags for groceries. Grocery store clerks thought I was crazy. This was just the beginning of my ventures with Project Citizen. Learn more.

We the People State Hearing Questions Available

The 2016-17 state-level hearing questions are now available! The challenging questions will be used in statewide high school We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competitions held across the nation. Winners of the state competitions qualify to compete at the We the People National Finals. Download (pdf).

Lee Hamilton on Congress, Presidents, and American Politics

When Lee H. Hamilton joined Congress in 1965 as a U.S. Representative from southern Indiana, he began writing commentaries for his constituents describing his experiences, impressions, and developing views of what was right and wrong in American politics. In his new book, Hamilton offers frank and sometimes surprising reflections on Congress, the presidency, and presidential character from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama. Learn more.

Roundtable Discussion Held in Morocco on Preventing Violence against Girls

The Moroccan Center for Civic Education, the Center's Civitas International Programs partner in Morocco, organized a roundtable discussion in May 2016 for educators, civil society leaders, and media representatives to promote gender equity in schools and the reduction of violence against girls. Learn more.

2016 American Lawyers Alliance Teacher of the Year Winners

Two We the People teachers received the American Lawyers Alliance 2016 Law-Related Education Teacher of the Year Award. Holly Katchner of Blackfoot High School in Idaho and Natalie O'Brien of North Smithfield High School in Rhode Island were honored along with Michael D. Seger of Howard Middle School in Florida. Learn more.

Center Once Again Approved by the Combined Federal Campaign

The Center is delighted to announce that it continues to be designated an "Approved Charity" by the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Federal workers who donate to nonprofit organizations through the CFC can make donations to the Center by using the Center's CFC code, which is 11560. The text that accompanies the Center's CFC listing notes that the Center is "administering nonpartisan school-based civic education programs at all levels that promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry actively committed to American constitutional principles, ideals, and practices." The Center's staff and Board members thank all of those federal employees who have contributed so much to our work over the years.

First Annual Civics Essay Contest

The Federal Bar Association is conducting its 1st Annual Civics Essay Contest for middle and high school students. The topic is "What does an impartial Judiciary System mean to me?" Deadline to submit student essays is January 13. Contact Josh Albertson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 571-481-9118 for more information.

Civitas Partner Authors Book about Human Rights Educators

The Center's Civitas International Programs partner in Chile, Abraham Magendzo, recently authored Towards a Just Society: The Personal Journeys of Human Rights Educators. The book is available for purchase electronically on Lulu and in print at Amazon, Lulu, and Barnes and Noble.

Shop Amazon to Support the Center for Civic Education

Do you shop 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. AmazonSmile.

This newsletter is a brief bulletin designed to keep you informed about some of the Center for Civic Education's news and events. Information presented includes news from around the country, news from other countries in the Center's Civitas International network, grant and award opportunities, and program updates and clarifications. If you have pertinent material that you would like to include in future newsletters, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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