The Arkansas We the People Program is pleased to announce that funds will be available in Arkansas to provide professional development for middle and high school teachers in civics and government focusing upon the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. The initiative, entitled the James Madison Legacy Project, is part of a nationwide professional development program directed by the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit educational organization that was recently awarded a federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program.
Arkansas We the People is one of the organizations participating in the 46-state James Madison Legacy Project partnership. The funding we receive will be used to increase the number of highly effective teachers of high-need and other students through professional development and the implementation of an exemplary curricular program for students. The teacher institutes and workshops will focus on the research-validated We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program, a nationally acclaimed curriculum that teaches upper elementary, middle and high school students about the history and principles of the U.S. Constitution.
The James Madison Legacy Project will use an existing professional development model that is enhanced with online resources as well as a new blended-learning variation of the traditional model that will involve the use of new online resources to be developed by the Center. These resources will provide teachers rich academic content and a mastery of teaching methods useful in helping students develop the capacity and inclination to become competent and responsible participants in the civic life of their communities and the nation.
The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in civics revealed that only about 25% of students performed at or above the “proficient” level. All the other students scored at “basic” or “below basic” levels that leave them ill-equipped to participate effectively in civic life. This clearly indicates the need for the James Madison Legacy Project to improve civic education.
“In order to help students become effective and engaged members of ‘We the People’ and further the goal of a nation that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, it is critical that teachers have a sound background in civics and government and develop the skills required to bring the subject to life for their students,” said Jeff Whittingham, Arkansas We the People Coordinator.
For more information contact: (Dr. Jeff Whittingham, UCA, 111B Mashburn, Conway, AR 72035, 501-450-5445, firstname.lastname@example.org)