We the People:
The Citizen and
The nationally acclaimed program about the history and philosophy of the civic education
regarding the U.S.
Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The primary goal of We the People: The
Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence and responsibility
among the nationís elementary and secondary students. The design of the
instructional program, including its innovative culminating activity, makes the
program successful with both teachers and students.
The instructional program enhances
studentsí understanding of the institutions of American constitutional
democracy. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the
Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students ďtestifyĒ before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Since the inception of the We the People program in 1987, textbooks have been used in Washington State by thousands of educators. The program enjoys the active participation of members of Congress, as well as support from hundreds of educational, professional, business, and community organizations across the nation.
The foundation of the We the People
program is the classroom curriculum. This program complements the regular
school curriculum by providing upper elementary, middle, and high school
students with an innovative course of instruction on the history and principles
of constitutional democracy in the United States. The We the People textbooks
are designed for a wide range of student abilities and may be used as a
supplemental text or for a full semester of study.
Critical thinking exercises,
problem-solving activities, and cooperative learning techniques help develop
intellectual and participatory skills while increasing studentsí understanding
of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. The We the People
curriculum fosters attitudes that are necessary for students to participate as
effective, responsible citizens. After studying the textbook, students take a
multiple-choice test and prepare for the simulated congressional hearing. Upon
completion of the course, they receive a certificate of achievement signed by
their member of Congress or other prominent official.
We the People: The Citizen and
the Constitution is available at upper elementary, middle, and high school
levels. Teacherís editions for each level contain lesson plans and suggested
activities to enrich classroom instruction.
Classroom sets include 30 student books and a teacherís edition. Instructional information and supplies necessary to complete the program are included with the teacherís edition. Free classroom sets are available on a limited basis in each congressional district in the nation. Additional sets may be purchased from the Center at a nominal cost.
Culminating Activity: Performance
Assessment in Action
Teachers are encouraged to hold a
simulated congressional hearing with their students as the culminating activity
for the We the People program. The entire class, working in cooperative teams,
prepares and presents statements on constitutional questions before a panel of
community representatives who act as congressional committee members. Students
then answer questions posed by the committee members. The format provides
students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of
constitutional principles while providing teachers with an excellent means of
Teachers may engage their students in
the simulated hearing activity at the following levels:
More than 1200 high school students and
their teachers participate annually in the We the People national finals. While
in Washington, students have an opportunity to explore historic sites, visit
museums, and meet with members of Congress and other prominent officials.
The Center for Civic Education
participates in research to validate the effectiveness of the programs. The
Program Effectiveness Panel of the U.S. Department of Educationís National
Diffusion Network examined the reports of numerous research studies on the We
the People program. The panel validated the results of those studies and
confirmed the programís powerful educational effects on studentsí civic
knowledge and attitudes. This formal validation recognizes the We the People
programís "contributions to excellence in education."
What the Research Says
Further research can be found on the Center for Civic Educationís website.
How To Get Involved
Civic Education Washington State, in
cooperation with The Center for Civic Education, administers the We the People
program nationally through a network of coordinators in 50 states, 435
congressional districts, 4 trust territories, and the District of Columbia.
These coordinators work with their members of Congress, business and community
leaders, and local educators to contribute to the success of the program.
Teachers and Educators may:
Government Officials may:
Community, Business, and Professional Associations may:
For more information on participating in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program, contact Kathy Hand and/or your congressional district volunteer.