Don Gifford is the Educational Program Consultant for History, Government, and Social Studies Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education
Over the past two years, the Kansas State Department of Education has focused on improving the civic engagement opportunities provided to the children of our state.
Step one toward this goal is the creation of the Civic Advocacy Network Award Program that will launch this fall.
The Civic Advocacy Network Award will be given to Kansas elementary, middle, and high schools who demonstrate that they are providing outstanding civic engagement opportunities to their students. The criteria for the award is based on the “Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning” identified by the Educational Commission for the States and their National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. These six practices, when implemented, will encourage the development of Continue reading Civic Advocacy Network Award
For the past several years I have had the privilege of serving on the Law Related Education Committee of the Kansas Bar Association. This committee is made up of law professionals with a passion for providing resources that will improve teacher and student understanding of the law and their rights. I enjoy meeting with this group, not just because they are intelligent and influential people, but because they really do want to help.
State statute requires that schools grades kindergarten through eight use five consecutive school days “to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which this country was founded.” (Kansas Statutes 72-1129) The federal government has designated September 17th as Constitution Day and that all schools “shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution.” (Federal Register May 2005)
The Honorable Joseph Pierron and other judges and attorneys have created classroom presentations that they deliver upon request, presentation titles include: “You be the judge” “What is the Constitution?” “What do judges do?,” “The Boston Tea Party” “King George/George Washington” and more. To inquire about the possibility of getting one of these speakers or Celebrate Freedom packets contact your local bar association office or Anne Woods (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Kansas Bar Association
The Kansas Bar Association through the Law Related Education Committee have created some great resources that can be used for these occasions.
- Law Wise is a newsletter intended to be a fun and informative resource for teachers and their students in elementary school through high school. Sign up for a free Educator account and select Law Wise to receive email notifications
- For the Record is written primarily for Middle School students and covers a wide variety of issues middle school students might be dealing with.
- On Your Own is written for high school student and those about to go out “on their own.” This booklet/webpage is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not attempt to provide legal advice. Legal advice should come only from an attorney of your choice who can take into account all of the factors relevant to your particular situation.
- Law Related Education Resource Center (ESU) is maintained by the Teachers College Resource Center for circulation by Kansas teachers, lawyers, and other law-related educators. DVDs and videos may be checked out for two weeks while most print matter may be used for one month. There is no charge related to the use of these materials.
- Public Information Pamphlets on Additional Topics are provided by the Bar Association with no charge. Print copies do have associated costs.
In addition every year the Committee selects an educator to scholarship to the Supreme Court Summer Institute in Washington DC if the applicant is accepted the committee will pay expenses for the trip.
As you prepare for September 17th and Celebrate Freedom Week consider using these great resources.