We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution
The Michigan Center for Civic Education has directed the We the People…the Citizen and the Constitution program in Michigan since the program began in 1987 as a special program to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Developed by the Center for Civic Education, the primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence, responsibility, appreciation, and enthusiasm for the Constitution and our societal issues among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students.
We the People engages students in a curriculum designed to foster understanding of the institutions of American democracy, including the Constitution with a specialization in the Bill of Rights. Culminating activities feature a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of volunteer attorneys, educators, and civic leaders. A prepared response and a conversation between students and their panel of judges highlights the best of both student-centered pedagogy and Constitutional scholarship.
During the State Finals, students have opportunities to address panels and testify on critical Constitutional questions of the day. Judges then engage our young Constitutional scholars in dialogue on the content, history, and current applications of the Constitution.
What are the areas of specialization?
We the People is a competition in the format of a simulated congressional hearing. High School classes present testimony and answer questions about historical, political, and Constitutional issues. Students are expected to be generalists in overall Constitutional knowledge and specialists in one of six units of in-depth study. Those are:
- Unit 1: What are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System?
- Unit 2: How Did the Framers Create the Constitution?
- Unit 3: How has the Constitution been Changed to Further the Ideals Contained in the Declaration of Independence?
- Unit 4: How have the Values and Principles Embodied in the Constitution Shaped American Institutions and Practices?
- Unit 5: What Rights does the Bill of Rights Protect?
- Unit 6: What Challenges Might Face American Constitutional Democracy in the Twenty-First Century?
The 2019-2020 We the People Showcase and Competition Season
The 2020 Michigan We the People State Finals will be held Friday, January 10, 2020 at the Michigan Capitol Complex in Lansing.
- Eastern region – Wednesday, November 20, place tba
- Western region – Friday, November 22, at the Kent Intermediate School District
Please reserve Friday, January 10, 2020 for the showcase and competition in the Lansing Capitol Complex. Students and volunteers will be assigned to various locations throughout the Lansing Capitol Complex. Awards will occur in the Boji Tower Hearing Room for all participants.
*Everyone is welcome to compete and showcase at the state finals and showcase. You do not need to compete or showcase at a district to participate. Please bring your teams to have meaningful Constitutional dialogue!
The 33rd We the People National Finals will be held April 24-27, 2020 at the National Conference Center in the Washington D.C area. Michigan has accepted the offer for a Wildcard team meaning that if drawn, two teams will represent Michigan at the National Finals.
SCHOOLS! Register for the 2019-2020 We the People Showcase and Competition
The Michigan Center for Civic Education is recruiting judges and additional volunteers for the 2020 Michigan We the People State Finals. You can find resources and tips for judging and sign up to join us!
Please consider lending your time and talents to the 2020 State Competition and Showcase. Students from across the state will rely on academic experts, people in the field, and all people supportive of civic education to make the event happen. The State Finals will be held Friday, January 10 at the Michigan Capitol Complex in Lansing. The day will begin with a judge orientation at 9:00 a.m. and run until approximately 3:15 p.m.Volunteer here:
Opportunities for Teacher Learning
MCCE often provides week-long summer institutes where teachers undergo rigorous training in Constitutional scholarship plus the instructional support for implementing We the People in the classroom.
MCCE is happy to announce a week of professional learning in civic education will be provided for teachers, coaches, and interested community members in the summer of 2020. In addition to a dive into the revised state civics standards, learning specializations will include:
- We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution – a K-12 civic education featuring simulated congressional hearings,
- Project Citizen – Civics in Action and Public Policy collaboration program featuring students solving community issues through public policy understanding and advocacy – plus an in depth look at the revised Strand 6 of the Michigan State Civics Standards,
- International Relations – an exploration into world affairs with a focus on foreign policy, comparative government, and an in depth look at the revised Strand 5 of the Michigan State Civics Standards, and
- Classroom Processes and Protocols – from dialogue to disagreement – for Healthy Controversy in the classroom, and
- So much more!
Stay tuned for more details!
We the People Classroom Resources
Please visit the resource page here for additional We the People classroom resources.