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The Utah State Bar is preparing to kick off its statewide Civics Education Program in elementary, junior high and high school classrooms across the state in honor of Constitution Day on September 17.
Already more than 200 teachers and classrooms have signed up to participate in the program, while attorneys and judges – including Justice Christine Durham of the Utah Supreme Court and Judge Dee Benson of the Federal District Court for the District of Utah – have generously volunteered their time to the program.
The Bar’s Civics Education Program places attorneys and judges in Utah classrooms to engage students in a one-hour lesson focused on fostering participation in, understanding of and excitement about democracy, separation of powers, the rule of law and the role of an independent judiciary.
“We believe the legal community has an obligation to assist teachers with the responsibility of educating students about our Constitution and government. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to partner with schools across Utah in educating students on such important issues,” said Angelina Tsu, Civics Education Committee chair. “The Utah State Bar is committed to supporting public education on this issue, and we are passionate about this program.”
The Utah State Bar’s Civics Education Program is a result of national concern over an alarming decline in America’s knowledge of the fundamentals of democracy. For instance, recent national surveys found that only one-third of Americans could name the three branches of U.S. government, while another third couldn’t name any.
On the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress for civics, more than two-thirds of all American students scored below proficient. The Bar hopes to help reverse the trend by challenging its members to do their part and volunteer in Utah’s classrooms.
Attorneys, teachers, and schools who are interested in participating in this program in the future can visit http://www.utahbar.org/highschoolcivics/welcome.html or contact Christy Abad at 801.297.7031 or Christy.Abad@utahbar.org for more information.
With more than 10,000 members, the Utah State Bar’s mission is to represent lawyers and to serve the public and legal profession by promoting justice, professional excellence, civility, ethics and respect for an understanding of the law. For more information about the Bar, visit www.utahbar.org