Then-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in October 2011 observed that “[e]very banana republic in the world has a bill of rights.” Most are just “words on paper,” however, he said, because those countries’ constitutions do not “prevent the centralization of power in one person or one party.”
Ten years later, in October of this year, The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin J. Feulner Institute launched the Level Up Civics Expo to introduce American families to easy-to-access materials about America’s history and tools for dinnertime discussions, family games, and engaging readings.
During this first-of-its-kind virtual event, leading civics education providers from around the country presented “Shark Tank”-style pitches promoting their civics resources to a review panel that gave live feedback on each presentation.
Now, on Dec. 15, in honor of Bill of Rights Day, we salute the American Civics and History Initiative, Constituting America, and Generation Joshua for producing civics content that parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens selected as trustworthy for sharing with their children and other young people.
A recent Heritage Foundation survey indicates that parents overwhelmingly want their children to appreciate and preserve our democratic republic and the freedoms it bestows. The study reveals that a majority of parents are seeking trustworthy civics content that includes narratives about all Americans, of all races, creeds, and religions (54%) and rooted in America’s founding (52%), especially when produced by reliable organizations (31%).
The American Civics and History Initiative received high ratings from the Level Up Civics Expo. Its content is designed to provide teachers with materials that promote the ideal and embody “that all men are created equal,” with emphases on the freedom and responsibilities of the individual, that the Constitution is the strategic plan, and the history of our country is a journey of effort, failure, and progress.
Parents say they have a role to play in teaching civics education. Those surveyed said parents should encourage their children to be good citizens (80%), model good citizenship (77%), and teach children about America’s history and founding (65%).
Constituting America helps parents engage in the teaching of civics. During the Level Up Civics Expo, participants were attracted to Constituting America’s mission to educate families about the Constitution and its rights and liberties through movies, music, and a child’s creativity, aimed at inspiring Americans of all ages.
Our survey also indicates that parents rank primary resources as a priority for civics curriculums and support a mix of content types. Expo participants voted favorably for Generation Joshua’s iCitizen and iGovern programs. iCitizen’s online, self-paced courses provide learning opportunities for all ages and allow students to evaluate their progress. The iGovern Summer Leadership Camps provide leadership- and character-development opportunities through real-world crises, team-building challenges, and daily corporate chapel.
Today, we celebrate one of the most significant protections of liberty in the history of the world; namely, the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Adopted 230 years ago, on Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights encompasses the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, protecting our most fundamental rights and liberties and guaranteeing equal protection under the law.
Join us in saluting the American History and Civics Initiative, Constituting America, and Generation Joshua. These organizations provide resources that foster an appreciation for America’s founding principles and empower young people to become informed and engaged citizens.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal