The primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students. What makes the program so successful is the design of its instructional program, including its innovative culminating activity.
The instructional program enhances students understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students "testify" before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take, and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Through funding from the Center for Civic Education, the Indiana Bar Foundation provides free professional-development opportunities for elementary, middle, high school educators, university and college professors, members of the legal community, We the People congressional district coordinators, and will work to provide these opportunities to any Hoosier interested in learning how to be an engaged and enlightened citizen.
Since the inception of the We the People program in 1987, more than 28 million students and 90 thousand educators have participated in this innovative course of study. Several studies by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Professor Richard Brody, Stanford University, indicate that students who used the curriculum "significantly outperformed comparison students" on every topic studied. The program enjoys the active participation of members of Congress, as well as support from professional, business, and community organizations across the nation. Program participants can maintain contact with one another through the Indiana Alumni Ambassadors program.
Advanced Placement (AP) Government teachers can help prepare their students for the AP Exam by involving them in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. Government teachers from throughout the nation recommend We the People.
“We the People was my government class in high school, and it was, quite simply, the best class I ever had. It changed my life, and the way I view my responsibilities as a citizen, forever.”
– Jenny Braun, class of 1995