News Release Contact: Kate Strickland
For Immediate Release OCLRE Executive Director
Ohio Middle School Students Highlight Their Constitutional Knowledge
COLUMBUS (May 16, 2019) - As the end of the school year approaches, most students are thinking about their summer plans. But, more than 200 Ohio middle school students remain focused on academics, having spent the last few months studying and preparing for the Ohio Middle School We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution State Showcase on May 17 at the Ohio Statehouse.
Students from the following schools will participate in the state showcase: Berea-Midpark Middle School (Cuyahoga County), Brookside Middle School (Lorain County), Columbiana South Side Middle School (Columbiana County), and Sycamore Junior High School (Hamilton County).
We the People students participate in simulated legislative hearings to showcase their knowledge of the United States Constitution. Students evaluate, present, and defend positions on important historical and contemporary issues. After providing a prepared answer to the competition questions, students answer follow-up questions from judges including college professors, judges, attorneys, and other community leaders.
Among the questions students will tackle: What are the important characteristics of a constitutional government? Why did the Founders think freedom of speech was so important? What activities besides voting are available to citizens to be active in government?
Berea-Midpark teacher Robin Lashley is excited for her students to participate. “My students have gained valuable skills in presenting information and in thinking for themselves and providing evidence to support their opinions.”
Chris Gutermuth, a teacher at Sycamore Junior High School, concurs. “We the People is to civics education what coding is to STEM education. It is a relevant, authentic, and real learning experience that prepares and encourages middle grades students to engage in civic discourse and participation.”
We the People is administered in Ohio by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) and nationally by the Center for Civic Education. OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. In Ohio, We the People is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information, please visit www.oclre.org.