I’m turning this morning’s post over to a government teacher at Cathedral High School, who is trying to raise money for her students to travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national We The People contest.
My name is Jill Baisinger; I am the coach of Cathedral High School’s We the People team. My class is trying to fund raise our trip to Washington D.C. for the We the People National Competition. Below is some information regarding the program and our school’s involvement.
We the People is a national civic education program that is taught in 5th grade, 8th grade, and 12th grade classrooms. Its purpose is to help prepare students to become more active citizens. Students specialize in an area of constitutional studies from founding philosophies, historical application, civil rights, civil liberties, or current applications. The culminating activity is a competition set up as a Congressional hearing where students take and defend their constitutional view as they have a conversation with attorneys, judges, historians, and other members of the community.
This is only Cathedral’s second year to have a We the People program, yet the team this year won their Congressional district competition and the Indiana State competition, which is one of the three hardest competitions in the country. Cathedral is now “Team Indiana” – and will represent Indiana at the National hearings at the end of April in Washington D.C.
In the past, when We the People was fully funded through a Congressional earmark, the Indiana Bar Foundation was able to pick up the cost of the team to travel to D.C. and compete. During these economic hard times, this is no longer the case; now the team must raise $33,000 to get to the national competition. Students, parents, and Cathedral High School are working hard to make this come true – and this is what the money would go toward – getting the team to D.C. to compete against the best We the People teams across the country.
The students and I would be more than happy to do a 15 minute demonstration for you, to introduce you to the program. Or I would be more than willing to meet you to chat about the benefits of the program myself – Just let me know! Here is the website for our group – that gives a little more information about the program, history at Cathedral, and the team’s achievements in a short period of time. www.gocathedral.com/wethepeople ;
If you are interested in more information on ways to make a tax-deductible contribution to Cathedral’s “We the People…” team, please contact Cathedral’s Development Officer, Michelle Rhodes at (317) 968 – 7311 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The decision to de-fund We The People has to rank as one of the stupidest, “penny-wise, pound foolish” decisions by a Congress that seems to wallow in stupidity. The program is one of the very few that has consistently been demonstrated to be effective in imparting basic civic understanding. As someone who has been a judge for the state contest, I can personally attest to the depth of historical and constitutional knowledge the students display. And unlike contests like “brain game,” all of the students in a given class participate–the extent of that participation is one of the criteria for which points are awarded. A couple of bright kids can’t “carry” the others.
I know young people for whom participation in We The People was a turning point, an experience that engaged them in active citizenship for years afterward. Competing at the national level can only intensify that experience.
I’m going to send a contribution to Cathedral; I hope many of you reading this will choose to do likewise.