is at the heart of the CDC mission. The center works closely with
the State Bar of Nevada, Clark County Bar Association, and Clark
County School District in promoting national and regional programs
that improve skills vital to exercising citizenship rights. The
civic education programs offered in Nevada include the contest
"We the People," the discussion exercise "Dialogue
on Freedom," the interactive courtroom program "Open
the Doors to Federal Courts," and the "Mock Trials"
series that gives young men and women a chance to learn and practice
legal skills. CDC activists are mindful that passive teaching
of civic virtues is limited in its effectiveness. Wherever possible,
they move beyond civic education programs based on straightforward
lecturing and toward more interactive programs. Those interested
in the current debate over the role of civic education can check
the article "Good Students and Good Citizens" by James
Bernard Murphy published in the Sept. 15, 2002, issue
of The New York Times.
the People and Project
Citizen are national programs initiated and coordinated
by the Center for Civic Education in California. Designed
for middle school students, "Project Citizen" teaches
youngsters how to enact changes in public policy. Students
work as a team on a community issue and learn to communicate
with local and state officials regarding their community project.
"We the People" program is tied to government or
history classes, and it involves a concentrated study of the
U.S. constitution and its history. The discussion focuses
on the issues the framers faced while writing a constitution
for an emerging nation, and on the impact that this document
has on the problems confronting us today. "We the People"
culminates in competitions where the teams drawn from the
government and history classes compete with each other in
the six subject areas specified by the Center for Civic Education.
Winners of each state competition go to Washington D.C. where
they compete against the teams from other states.
on Freedom is a civic education program developed
by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and it is intended
to foster dialogue about American values and civic traditions
in our nation's classrooms. Discussions are facilitated by
a team of attorneys and judges who visit classrooms and engage
students in the discussions about the meaning of American
democracy. The 2003 Dialogue on Freedom in the
state of Nevada is scheduled for the week of April 28th through
May 2, and it will be conducted in conjunction with Law
Day. Iin the upcoming years, progams will follow the same format and time frame. Connie Akridge's 2006 KNPR Interview addressed the role of civic education in Nevada.
Doors to Federal Courts is an interactive courtroom
exercise which brings high school students, teachers, bar
associations, community leaders, and others into courthouses
where the participants have a chance to interact with federal
judges and court staff. The program has been in existence
nationwide since 1999. The theme for the year 2003 is "Jury
Service: A Rite of Passage." High school students from
social studies and government classes will take the role of
jurors, while the case will be prosecuted by local attorneys,
who will be assisted by students from the William S. Boyd
School of Law. The program is administered in Clark County
by the Honorable Philip M. Pro, United States District Court
Trials are primarily an after-school program for
high schools. Teams of 6 to 8 students are coached by teachers
and volunteer attorneys to conduct a trial in a competitive
setting. Contestants are judged on their presentation of information,
their ability to think on their feet, as well as on their
communications with their own team members and with other
teams. Each group prepares for months with their teacher and
volunteer attorney coaches, honing their legal knowledge and
courtroom skills. The mock trials in the 2002-2003 cycle feature
about 18 schools from various parts of Nevada. The state finals
take place in Clark County on March 28-29, 2003.
Day is an annual event held on May 1 in recognition
of the law and law profession. Activities for schools and
the community are developed around a theme selected by the
American Bar Association.
Several other programs are being developed for the Nevada
schools and general community, including national initiatives
". . . And Justice for All," a regional program
"Youth Citizen of the Month," legal seminars and
workshops for the Nevada youth and adults.
information about these and other law related and civic education
programs contact Marcia Stribling, Law Related Education Coordinator
for the State Bar of Nevada, tel. 702-382-2200, ext 208.