Civics Advocacy Resources: Research

The Civics Renewal Network’s mission is to bring attention to the importance of civics education in our nation. We provide these civics advocacy resources for teachers, parents and members of the public who are similarly concerned about the state of civics education in our schools. Included in these resources, you will find research and studies […]

Women’s Suffrage Posters & Displays

In September, the National Archives’ Rightfully Hers pop-up displays began arriving at schools and cultural institutions nationwide. The display contains simple messages about the expansion of the vote to millions of women, before and after the 19th Amendment, and its impact today. The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a landmark moment in American history that dramatically changed the electorate. It enshrined in the United States Constitution fuller citizenship for women and a more expansive democracy for the nation. We’ve been delighted to see these “pop-ups” in schools, libraries, and cultural institutions around the country after we offered a limited number last year. If you didn’t receive one, you can download the high-resolution posters for your school or institution from our website.

Virtual Supreme Court Competition for High School Students

ConSource and the Harlan Institute announce their Seventh Annual Virtual Supreme Court Competition for high school students. Teams of two students have 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 Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The question: Resolved: Does it violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to invalidate a generally available and religiously neutral student-aid program simply because the program affords students the choice of attending religious schools? Go here to learn more.

Civics Renewal Network Session at NCSS Conference

Don’t miss the Civics Renewal Network partners’ session at the NCSS Conference in Austin, Texas. Mark your schedule with Session #234: Get Ready for the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment!

Friday November 22, 1:00-1:55 p.m.

Room 18C Level 4, Austin Convention Center

Baseball Teams Host Naturalization Ceremonies

On Constitution Day and Citizenship Day 2019, several professional major-league and minor-league baseball teams welcomed new citizens at naturalization ceremonies on and around September 17. Teams included the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, and Philadelphia Phillies, whose stadium is a short distance from where the delegates at the Constitutional Convention drafted our founding document in 1787. The U.S. Courts have organized the ceremonies, which in past years have been held at iconic locations such as historic and national parks.

“I have watched many standing ovations for home runs and winning games,” Magistrate Judge Michael Newman said. “This standing ovation, to honor new citizens who completed all of the legal requirements for citizenship, began when they went out onto the field and continued until all 7,000-plus of us in the stadium recited the Pledge of Allegiance together. It was an amazing night that I will never forget.”

Kennedy Institute Receives Grant for ‘Civil Conversations’

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, based in Boston, has been awarded a $200,000 prize to develop a program to help 8th through 12th grade teachers develop the skills necessary to lead productive classroom discussions on difficult public policy issues such as immigration, gun violence, and voting rights. The Institute is the recipient of the inaugural Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award given by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The Civics Renewal Network is a project of the policy center.

The first phase of the two-year program calls for the development of a pilot program called “Civil Conversations” with 16 teachers in four Massachusetts school districts. In its second year, the project will be rolled out to additional schools in a dozen areas across the country with teaching materials such as workbooks, multimedia materials, and facilitation guides. Learn more here.

Fall 2019 SCOTUS in the Classroom Cases

Street Law announces its two fall SCOTUS in the Classroom cases. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Aimee Stephens. This case, which involves the firing of a transgender employee and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, presents an opportunity to teach about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The second case is The consolidated cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda. In Bostock a gay man named Gerald Bostock was employed by the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Ga. Bostock started to participate in a gay recreational softball league, and, several months later, he was fired for “conduct unbecoming of a county employee.” In Altitude Express, a gay man named Donald Zarda was working as a skydive instructor for Altitude Express. Due to the close physical proximity required for the tandem skydive, Zarda often told female customers that he was gay in order to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable. After being fired for allegedly touching a female customer inappropriately (accusations that he denied), he filed for unemployment benefits. In doing so he discovered that Altitude Express informed the New York Department of Labor that he had been fired “for shar[ing] inappropriate information with [customers] regarding his personal life,” not for the incident with the female customer. Learn more about the cases and resources here.

Videos Demonstrate Street Law Teaching Strategies

Street Law has developed four short how-to videos to help law students, lawyers, and other Street Law educators master some of our popular interactive teaching strategies. Each video also comes with a resource bundle. The videos address: Take a Stand activity; Mini-Moot Court; Deliberation; and Facilitator Tips. Go here to learn more.