American Bar Association

The mission of the Division for Public Education is to promote public understanding of law and its role in society. The Division provides national leadership in educating the public about legal issues, legal institutions and the rule of law. The Division works in partnership with bar associations, courts, educational institutions, civic organizations, and others to reach diverse public audiences, providing balanced information through its programs, publications, and resources.

Featured Resources

Insights on Law & Society

This magazine from the American Bar Association’s Division of Public Education focuses on the Fourteenth Amendment, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018. Articles include: “Will the Federal Government Enforce the Fourteenth Amendment at 150 years?” “The Only One Way to Celebrate the Fourteenth Amendment: Teach It!” Why It Is Important to Teach About the Fourteenth Amendment,” “Teaching Legal Docs: Birth Certificates.”

Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment

The American Bar Association Dialogue program provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in a discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. This Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment is composed of three parts:
Part 1: Equal Protection and Civil Rights – Participants discuss the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and consider how Congress, through federal legislation, has worked to help realize its constitutional promise.
Part 2: Incorporating the Bill of Rights examines the concept of incorporation. Using a case study of Gitlow v. New York, this section provides a guide to how courts have applied the Bill of Rights, selectively, to the states using the 14th Amendment.
Part 3: Ensuring Equality and Liberty explores how the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to protect fundamental freedoms, including individuals’ right to marry.

Individuals Influence Public Policy

In this lesson, students are presented with a controversial school policy and given two viewpoints on the issue. They are then divided into groups, and asked to provide reasons for and against the policy. After deciding whether the policy should be changed or not, the students are asked to reflect on why policies might change and what factors influence policy decisions.

Responsibility and Community Service

This lesson explores how groups of people (or animals) come together to solve community problems. Students will identify a variety of personal responsibilities and civic responsibilities from a set of pictures in order to get a better understanding of what responsibility means. Students will understand that citizens in the United States have a responsibility to help others.

Taking a Stand

This lesson teaches the importance of being informed, forming opinions, and advocating for those opinions to our country’s political life. Students will understand what it means to take a stand and why it is important for citizens to do so for an important issue.

Victoria Goes to Court

This is a children’s book by Benny Agosto, Jr. and his daughter, Victoria Agosto, and its story describes the importance of the legal system to fighting injustice.

Rules, Rules, Rules

In this lesson, students are asked to play a game – passing an object, such as an eraser – in which the rules are unclear and keep changing. Students are then asked to actively reflect on when and why rules are important and necessary. The leader might then connect rules of the game to the rule of law, and discuss the importance of law in our communities and in our society.

Mediation and the Adversarial Process

Students are first asked to resolve a hypothetical case via the adversary process. Each student is assigned the role of plaintiff, defendant, or judge. The plaintiff and defendant argue their case in turn, and the judge renders a decision. Students are then asked to reflect on the resolution. They are then instructed to resolve the same case via mediation, and to compare the two methods of dispute resolution.

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