In his year-end report on the federal judiciary, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts notes that over the years “we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside.”
“In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital.”
In the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “Every generation has an obligation to pass on to the next, not only a fully functioning government responsive to the needs of the people, but the tools to understand and improve it.”
To that end, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has put forth online a number of excellent educational resources that are suitable for teachers of young adults to incorporate into their civics education.
These materials can be found at www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources, and I would encourage teachers of civics related courses to give them a look.
They include games and activities, and links to videos about the Constitution and our system of government that a law geek like me finds to be inspirational.
Likewise, the Missouri Bar has a number of educational resources for teachers on its webpage at missourilawyershelp.org/educational-resources.
In recognition of the importance of promoting civics education in Missouri Schools, the Missouri Bar has established the E.A. Richter Award to outstanding citizenship educators in Missouri, in recognition of the contribution by Missouri’s teachers, administrators and schools. Nominations for the Richter Award may be submitted to the Missouri Bar at any time for teachers, groups of teachers, administrators and schools, by letter(s) of less than three pages stating how the nominee has contributed to civic education in Missouri. Only one letter is required for a nominee, but additional letters may be submitted.
The Missouri Bar also sponsors a program called Mini Law School for the Public, whereby legal lecture series are set up around the state, for the public interest.
Over the course of my three and a half decades in the legal profession, few things have I enjoyed more than speaking about legal topics to students and members of the public, be it a youth court class, a college class, a church group, or civic organization.
Our legal system is an essential part of the fabric of our lives. The rule of law is the social contract between all of us and each other, and sets forth our duty to our society. It protects us, and gives us certainty and security.
Whether we think about it, or completely take it for granted, our system of government, and the rule of law make possible the utilities that are piped and wired into our homes, the streets and highways upon which we travel in our day to day lives, the freedom from concern about foreign governments invading and oppressing us and the same freedom from concern about our own government doing the same, food safety, air travel, protection of property, economic security, fair and orderly redress of civil wrongs, and on and on and on.
Our system of government, our legal system, our Constitution, and the rule of law are what makes our country the greatest in the history of mankind.
And the importance of the prominent inclusion of these principals in the education of our citizens must not be overlooked.
Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.