July 2014 Civics Can Succeed: Preparing Young Citizens Through “We the People ” 1 Civics Can Succeed: Preparing Young Citizens Through “We the People”


In April I had the opportunity to witness students from Indiana testify on Capitol Hill about the United States Constitution. This was not a normal congressional hearing. It was the final round of competition in the national We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. This program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. I wish every Hoosier could witness what the students in this program accomplish. Classes from 56 schools from around the country competed during this three-day national competition and the top 10 schools competed on the third day on Capitol Hill. As the Executive Director of the Indiana Bar Foundation which is the administer-ing agency for Indiana’s We the People program, I have had the good fortune to see many schools from Indiana compete at our state competition as well as at the national competition. Indiana’s teams have consistently been finalists at the national competition for many years running. This success is a complement to the depth of Indiana’s program and the dedication of the students and teachers that participate. Every generation wonders about the next generation and some arrive quickly at cynical conclusions about “kids these days. ” The students in this program are the antidote to that cynicism. It is next to impossible to witness these students in action and not feel like we are preparing our future leaders well

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