A statewide effort to promote informed citizenship and start a dialogue about the Constitution
Kicking off on Constitution Day 2014, Civics In Action Goes Viral brings a volunteer lawyer into your classroom for an interactive presentation to introduce students to their role as citizens and increase their knowledge of the US Constitution.
The Civics In Action program began in 2011 with interactive presentations to a combined 76 Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs in New Hampshire through 2012 and 2013. Posing the question, "Can You Pass the Test?" audiences were asked the same questions asked of those seeking US citizenship. Do most citizens know enough about US government to pass this test themselves? What does that say about our level of awareness as citizens in a democracy?
Civics In Action Goes Viral is an adaptation of this program for students in middle and high school classrooms that begins rolling out this school year.
Practice for the Test: Self-Study Tool. The actual civics test is NOT a multiple choice test. The civics test is an oral test. During a naturalization interview, the candidate is asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. At least 6 out of 10 questions must be answered correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.
• A Civics in Action Ambassador (volunteer attorney) visits your classroom
• Students participate in a question-and-answer period about government and civic life
History of Constitution Day
Commemorate Constitution Day 2014 on September 17
On this date in 1787 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, a written charter for a new–and enduring–federal government. The delegates convened in Philadelphia to develop a framework that would provide balance and freedom, taking into account federal and state interests, as well as individual human rights. By June 21, 1788, the Constitution was effective, having been approved by nine of the 13 states.
In 2004, Congress required that all federally-funded schools observe "Constitution Day" by providing students with educational programs about the history and signing of the Constitution.
On December 8, 2004, President George W. Bush signed a bill designating September 17 as Constitution Day (if September 17 falls on a weekend, it may be observed another time around that date).
In May 2005, the US Department of Education, while announcing that all educational institutions receiving federal funding must observe Constitution Day, put forth guidelines stating educators are free to design Constitution Day programming that best addresses the needs of their students.
The goal of celebrating the September 17, 1787 signing of the US Constitution is to engage students in programming that will help them understand that citizen action and participation in government is the backbone of our country.