Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez creates a presentation highlighting her work in the state legislature.
There are four ways to participate in our Constitution Day program:
- Volunteer to present in a classroom (attorneys and community leaders)
- Invite a speaker to your school (teachers)
- Participate in the lively discussion! (students)
- Sponsor Constitution Day to reach more youth! (law firms)
WHY WE NEED YOU
Help educate local middle and high school students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities.
In recent national surveys of civics proficiency, some disturbing trends are noted:
Only 25% of high school students scored at the proficient level, and a third failed to show even a basic understanding
California high school seniors recently averaged a "D-" on a standard civics exam
More students can name the (very dated) Three Stooges than can name the three branches of government!
HOW TO SIGN UP
To become an attorney presenter:
Free up an hour or so on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 - Constitution Day. NB: many teachers need speakers on days other than Friday, because of block schedules, need to cover all sections of a course, or other conflicts. If you're not free Friday the 16th, but are generally interested, sign up and indicate your time constraints.
Notify Rebecca Rauber of your interest. Let her know of any geographic or time constraints, and provide her with a daytime phone number, your email, and the name of your firm/organization.
You are free to creqte your own presentation, but please keep in mind:
All presentations must be nonpartisan
All presentations must be interactive
You should consult with your assigned teacher to determine if there are any special topics or concerns you need to address in your presentation.
HOW IT WORKS
Twelve years ago, Congress passed a law creating Constitution Day, a federal holiday to recognize the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Nine years ago, the ACLU inagurated a matching program involving hundreds of volunteer attorneys, scores of teachers, hundreds of classrooms, and thousands of energized students.
For the last nine years, attorneys from the offices of the U.S. attorney, the public defender, the district attorney, Navy and Marine Corps attorneys, and numerous prestigious law firms have conducted hundreds of presentations focusing on cases and issues of greatest interest to middle and high school students. While the ACLU administers the program, each speaker is independent and designs her or his own presentation, in consultation with you, the teacher.
We love this program because it provides a special opportunity for all of us to focus on our most important foundational documents, and to engage together in dialgoue and reflect on, and learn more about, our Constitution and the democcratic way of life that it protects. We have nonpartisan study guides that we provide, free, for your students.
HOW TO REQUEST A SPEAKER FOR YOUR CLASSES
Because Constitution Day, September 16, falls so close to the beginning of the school year for most schools, we ask that you contact us now to let us know that you're generally interested. Please include as much of the information we need (below) as you can:
What day or days would you like speakers? (NB: you may request a speaker any day on or near Constitution Day or, in some cases, later in the school year if that fits better with your lesson plans.)
How many classes do you want covered?
If you know your exact schedule at this point, please include that. If possible, include exact class times and/or a bell schedule, being sure to indicate which is your prep period.
If you know now any specific requests you have of the presenters, please let us know (e.g., "Class will not have covered the Constitution yet, so have speakers focus on Bill of Rights and how these affect kids.").
Please include a daytime phone number.
That's it! We've made the program as simple and non-bureaucratic as possible. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the program in more detail, contact us here or call 619.232.2121, ext. 260.
CONSTITUTION DAY & STUDENTS
Your job on Constitution Day is to read up on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, think about instances in your daily life where these documents affect you directly, ask questions of your speaker, consider new ideas, debate your point of view, and complete any assignments your teacher gives you.
There are lots of resources on the Resources page to help you get in the Spirit of 1787!
CONSTITUTION DAY SPONSORS
CONSTITUTION DAY COUNCIL
Now celebrating its tenth year (that's the aluminum year, if you're thinking of getting us a gift!) the San Diego ACLU's successful Constitution Day program reaches about 20,000 students and their parents, scores of teachers, and tens of thousands of community members through assertive promotion and outreach efforts.
Each year, we invite our regional law firms to be an important part of the program by sponsoring it as a member of the Constitution Day Council, to extend our efforts to teach San Diego's young people about the great American values, excitement, and brilliance embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Last year, we presented to 550 classes through the kind graces of more than 250 volunteer attorneys, including lawyers from all practice areas and all political persuasions. As a CDC member, your firm will be highlighted in all promoitonal materials, and depending on the level of sponsorship you choose, your firm's logo and a link to your website will be highlighted as well.
If you have questions, please contact us today!
CONSTITUTION DAY 2016 Lead Sponsor