September 2021 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

Center and Partners Host Five Freedoms Online Lecture Series on the First Amendment, Bipartisan Civic Education Bill Introduced in Congress, We the People Alumna Receives John Lewis Youth Leadership Award, and More in This Month's Newsletter.

Center and Partners Host Five Freedoms Online Lecture Series on the First Amendment

Five Freedoms Online Lecture Series

The Center is proud to join James Madison's Montpelier and the First Amendment Museum in hosting the Five Freedoms online lecture series, which kicked off on September 21.

The Five Freedoms Series helps Americans better understand the freedoms guaranteed to them under the First Amendment and encourages them to exercise these rights. Each installment of the six-week series will focus on a different element of the First Amendment: speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. The sixth week will culminate in a panel of federal judges discussing cases on the docket in the 2021-2022 Supreme Court term. Educator participants are eligible to receive documentation of contact hours for professional development purposes.

The next lecture is "Freedom of the Press" with Gene Policinski, former COO of the Newseum and founding editor of USA Today. It will take place on Tuesday, October 5, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Register here

Teaching Engaged Citizenship Act

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Promote and Expand Civic Education

On Constitution Day, September 17, representatives Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) introduced the Teaching Engaged Citizenship Act to promote and expand high-quality, evidence-based civic education and service-learning programming in K-12 public schools.

If passed, the bill would create a Civic Education and Service-Learning Grant Program and would authorize the appropriation of $400 million per year in support of civic education. It will also establish an Office of Civic Education within the Department of Education.

"The Teaching Engaged Citizenship Act of 2021 represents student-centered, inquiry driven, and problem-based educational possibilities," said Ellen Zwarensteyn, executive director of the Michigan Center for Civic Education, which coordinates the We the People Programs in the state. "We welcome the emphasis on developing civic knowledge, civic skills, and civic dispositions."

The Center, along with the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, CivXNow Coalition, and the Michigan Center for Civic Education, endorse this bipartisan bill and continue to support legislation that makes civic education a priority nationwide.

We encourage you to contact your member of Congress to express your support for the Teaching Engaged Citizenship Act of 2021.

Read more

Join Us in  Supporting the Civics Secures Democracy Act

We the People State Hearing Questions Available

It's the moment you've all been waiting for: the 2021-22 We the People State Hearing Questions are now available! Three questions for each of the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution text challenge students to carefully consider the fundamentals of American government and apply them to contemporary issues. Download them today to prepare for your state competition.


Commentary on We the People State Hearing Questions

"Four B's" Offer Commentary on We the People State Hearing Questions

A group of long-serving We the People scholars and teachers are offering their informed opinions on each of this year's We the People state finals questions. The video series from the "Four B's"–Chris Cavanaugh, Tim Moore, David Richmond, and Mike Williams–will feature new videos each week. There will be 18 videos total, one for each state hearing question. Using an open-ended roundtable format, the aim of the discussions is to provide teachers and students additional resources as they prepare for their state competitions. Each hour-long video contains timestamps that serve as an outline for the discussion and links to documents and additional resources.


James Madison Legacy Project Reasearch

Listen to New 60-Second Civics Episodes with David Hudson of Belmont University and Gary Sheng of Civics Unplugged

Did you know the Center hosts its very own podcast? 60-Second Civics provides listeners with a quick and convenient way to learn about our nation's government, the Constitution, and our history. Each episode is accompanied by a Daily Civics Quiz, which makes a great warmup activity for history, civics, and government classrooms.

Our recent series introduced First Amendment scholar David Hudson of Belmont University for Free Speech & Civil Liberties after 9/11. Our current series features co-founder and COO of Civics Unplugged Gary Sheng with ideas on how anyone can change the world through civic engagement.

The podcast is available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other popular streaming platforms.

Quick Quiz! Which Greek philosopher taught that those who govern must be wise?

A. Democritus
B. Pythagoras
C. Plato
D. Epicurus

Read on to learn the answer!

We the People District Coordinator and Alumna Wins John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

We the People District Coordinator and Alumna Wins John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

We the People Nevada District 4 Coordinator and program alumna Saha Salahi was recently named the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award recipient for Nevada by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

The John Lewis Youth Leadership Award was established in 2021 by the National Association of Secretaries of State to honor the late congressman John Lewis and his long tenure of public service and accomplishments in civil rights.

"Salahi was selected because of her compelling story as a daughter of immigrant parents and her dedication to promoting civic engagement," said Secretary Cegavske in a press release. "Her passion for voting rights and women's rights as well as her work as a District Coordinator for the Nevada Center for Civic Engagement made her the perfect choice for this inaugural award in Nevada."


Podcast Promotes Civic Education with Indiana We the People Supporter

In "A Civic Way to Reverse Polarization," the nonpartisan Purple Principle podcast brought together four guests to discuss civic education's central role in protecting democracy. Guests included Hannah McCarthy and Nick Capodice of Civics 101, superintendent and We the People supporter Dr. Laura Hammack, and former Marine, educator, and state legislator Lieutenant Colonel Michael Moffett.

In the interview, Hammack attested that civics can engage kids, particularly when a well-conceived curriculum with some competition is attached, citing her former school district in Brown County, Indiana, and the We the People competition as proof.

Despite its small size, low incomes, and limited resources, Brown County won the state competition six times and placed first in the National Invitational twice. "What we witnessed," Hammack said, "was the power of civics education to really change a community."


Quiz Answer!

C. Plato (see episode 4413)

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


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