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Practical & Sensible Implementation
Teaching the Constitution
The federal mandate to “hold an educational program on the United States Constitution” can be interpreted in many ways. Some educators may find this lack of direction difficult. Keep in mind that Senator Byrd’s purpose for sponsoring the mandate was to respond to concerns that young people, as well as some adults, lack an in-depth understanding of the Constitution. This is one way to raise a level of awareness and change the trend of ignorance.

All students are to experience a Constitution Day program, not just those students who happen to have social studies that day. While you must address the Constitution, there is no set requirement on what to teach in the classroom.

With that in mind, if you lack knowledge yourself, our online resources will provide some useful information about teaching the Constitution. If needed, consult with a social studies colleague on making connections to the standards and benchmarks you are responsible for teaching during the first weeks of school.

You do not have to teach the whole Constitution in one day. Moreover, there is no requirement about how you address the Constitution in your classroom on Constitution Day. At a minimum, you must expose students to the United States Constitution in a way that increases their understanding of the document to a degree appropriate for their age group.

Why It's Important
The Constitution affects our everyday lives. There are numerous examples in the news each day related to students’ lives, the content standards, and benchmarks. Any current public issue is bound to have a connection to the Constitution. Citizens who carry out civic responsibilities become informed on issues affecting their community, state, and nation.

Know that the foundation for understanding the Constitution is being able to explain the purposes of government. Early elementary teachers could spend time teaching the prerequisite Core Democratic Values. Every later elementary, middle school, and high school teacher could spend time reviewing the Preamble. They can model how purposes of government carried out in current events relate to the subject matter.

Additional Information
It is hoped that all students will receive more than 13 days of instruction about the Constitution during their K-12 education experience. In order to maintain a representative democracy with limited government and to preserve our freedoms, knowledge about the U.S. Constitution is a necessity. This mandated, flexible Constitution Day program is one additional way we can all participate in creating in-depth knowledge of the U.S. Constitution for students and citizens.

For more information, please contact Roy Sovis at (810) 591-4520.