December 2021 Newsletter

News from the Center for Civic Education

We the People as an Antidote for Polarization, Educator Feedback Requested for Research Surveys, Interactive Curriculum and Free Resources Featured at NCSS Annual Conference and More in This Month's Newsletter.

An Antidote for Polarization


"When I see my students arguing all sides of an issue with understanding and respect, I have great hope for our country," said Patience LeBlanc, a We the People teacher in Texas.

Think of We the People as an antidote for polarization. In a time when civic education itself has become a politicized issue, the Center for Civic Education is committed to bringing free, nonpartisan, high-quality civics resources to teachers and students across the country.

You can help develop the abilities of people to engage in reasoned civil discourse by donating to support the Center for Civic Education. Please give today. Your contribution is an investment in the future of our country.


Georgetown Digital Media Survey

Take Georgetown's Digital Media Survey

Calling all educators! Would you be willing to help Georgetown University researchers by answering questions about your digital technology use in the classroom? By taking a brief survey, you will be eligible for a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. Your responses will expand our understanding of how digital tools are used in civics classrooms today.

Take the survey

Alaska State Winners

State We the People Competitions Underway!

State-level We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competitions have kicked off this year and we have two state champions to announce: Amy Gallaway's class from West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska (pictured), and Elizabeth Paternoster's class from Fishers High School in Fishers, Indiana. States differ in their decisions on whether to hold in-person or virtual state state finals, with 19 in-person competitions, 17 virtual events, and 3 states undecided. Visit our state competitions page to check the status of state finals events nationwide.

Upcoming events

NCSS Annual Conference

Interactive Curriculum and Free Resources Featured at NCSS Annual Conference

The National Council for the Social Studies' 101st annual conference on November 15-21 was another great success! The Center for Civic Education's sessions featured online and print resources that are highly engaging for students and teachers, including free lesson plans, courses, and podcasts. The sessions covered We the People: The Citizen and Democracy and Project Citizen (Maria Gallo), and Strengthening Democracy in America (Alissa Irion-Groth and Patience LeBlanc), and 60-Second Civics (Mark Gage). If you registered for the conference, the session recordings are available to watch through April!

Conversation on the 14th Amendment

Join Christopher R. Riano & Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center for a Conversation on the 14th Amendment!

Join Christopher R. Riano, president of the Center for Civic Education, and National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen on January 21 at 1 pm EST for a conversation on the 14th Amendment. Their discussion will cover battles for equality from Reconstruction to the Supreme Court's landmark decision on marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, a topic he covers in his book Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws, co-authored with Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr. Riano will also discuss initiatives from the Center and answer questions from participants.

Register to join the Zoom webinar here.


Independent Evaluation

Independent Evaluation Illuminates Presidential and Congressional Academies' Success

Georgetown University's independent evaluation of the 2021 Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics demonstrated that participating high school teachers and high-need students achieved significant gains in their civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Through these intensive online summer programs, educators and young people across the country interacted with noted scholars, engaged in civil discourse, and participated in a simulated congressional hearing on constitutional issues. The online programs for 2021 were as effective as 2019's in-person program at achieving learning gains. For more details, read the final evaluation report by Dr. Diana Owen of the Civic Education Research Lab.

Learn more

Scouts Day Virtual Event on Law & Government

Scouts Day Virtual Event on Law and Government to Feature Center President Christopher R. Riano

The National Constitution Center is offering a series of special virtual programs to youth participants in Girl Scouts of the USA and Scouts BSA. The law and government session on December 16 from 7 to 8:30 pm EST, will feature Christopher R. Riano, the Center's president.

Participants will explore the American legal system with a panel discussion featuring legal experts and law enforcement officers. Then they will collaborate during an interactive courtroom program and play the parts of attorneys, witnesses, and even the jury. Together, participants will explore how people throughout American history have resolved conflicts through civil dialogue and healthy debate.

"It's a unique opportunity for scouts to fulfill their Law Merit Badge requirements by asking experts in the field all of their questions," said Madison Steele, coordinator of learning experiences. This session is also perfect for Girl Scouts pursuing the "Finding Common Ground" badge.

Sessions are presented through a secure Zoom webinar. Sign up your Scout for the virtual event here.


Quick Quiz! Which English king signed the Magna Carta?

A. King Henry III
B. King Henry II
C. King John
D. King Edward

Read on to learn the answer!

Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice

Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice Offers Opportunities for Studying the Constitution and Fostering Civil Discourse

The Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice offers a 12-week course that brings together a group of community members from diverse backgrounds and political persuasions to study the founding principles of the U.S. government through the Constitution, explore the document's relevance today, and foster civil discourse.

"In a time when our country's divides can feel insurmountable, people are hungry to be part of the solution to reclaiming civil discourse," shared Charmaine Caccioppi, executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Way of Southeast Louisiana. "The Marsiglia Institute offers a unique opportunity to engage in this type of dialogue while learning constitutional history and principles through lectures based on We The People: The Citizen & the Constitution and guest presentations."

Since its founding in 2018 by Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the institute has quickly grown its reach and notability. The institute looks forward to graduating their sixth cohort of Distinguished Fellows on December 14 with mock hearings presided over by sitting judges and will continue to engage alumni through the Marsiglia Institute Alumni Association.

Survey on Mission US History Games for the Classroom

Teachers: Please Take a Brief Survey on Mission US History Games for the Classroom!

Are you an eighth- or ninth-grade social studies or history teacher? Mission US, a member of the Social Studies Innovation Network, needs your help! Please fill out this brief 10-minute survey for a U.S. Department of Education-funded study. The researchers would love to hear from you about your class, curriculum, and teaching preferences. The research team is studying Mission US, a series of online role-playing games designed to deepen students' grasp of U.S. history. The survey hopes to get a better sense of how teachers might use the series in their classrooms.

Take the survey

Quiz Answer!

C. King John (see episode 4481)

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


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