The NH Bar Association is committed to improving civics instruction in schools through its Law Related Education programs. The hope is that more civics and social studies instruction will better prepare students for participation as citizens. Programs include lesson plans, curriculum resources and guides such as Beyond High School: A Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities.
In 2016, the NH Legislature passed SB 57, mandating a “competency assessment” for civics as a graduation requirement, joining 16 states that have made civics education a graduation requirement. To support schools and students in achieving civics competency, the NHBA offers numerous programs and resources, details of which are listed below.
NHBA Law Related Education
Law Related Education (LRE) serves as a tool to help youth connect their values to civic participation and become the kind of active citizens democracy depends on.
The NHBA Law Related Education Program is directed by the Law Related Education Coordinator, Robin E. Knippers, along with a committee relating to the individual LRE programs. The program began in 1985 and now serves over 50,000 students and teachers in New Hampshire. LRE provides curriculum resources, development and educational opportunities, interactive projects with attorneys, law firms, and schools across New Hampshire.
NHBA LRE Mission Statement
Law Related Education (LRE) encompasses a variety of programs for students in grades K-12, designed to teach students about law, the legal system and the fundamental principles upon which our constitutional democracy is based. Activities are intended to foster partnerships between schools and attorneys who volunteer their time for educational purposes.
The Law Related Act of 1978
According to the Law Related Act of 1978, LRE is “education to equip non-lawyers with the knowledge and skills pertaining to the law, the legal process, and the legal system, and fundamental principles and values on which these are based.” The U.S. Department of Education regulations supporting the Act add that LRE helps students “respond effectively to the law and legal issues in our complex and changing society.”
Today, LRE embraces a rich and varied array of programs for all grade levels. These programs share a common goal of fostering the knowledge, skills, and values students need to function effectively in a society defined by its democratic institutions, pluralism, and the rule of law. LRE strives to develop the active citizens a democratic society requires: those who can understand, live in, and contribute positively to the civic communities to which they belong.