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Summer Institute K-12 Teachers

Teachers attending the institute on American civics

The First Amendment and 21st Century America:
A Summer Institute for K-12 Teachers








Essential Information:

Date: July 21-27, 2019
Location: Philadelphia – The National Constitution Center
Sponsors: Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, National Constitution Center, Annenberg Public Policy Center
Application Deadline: March 1, 2019
Notification Deadline: March 29, 2019
Deadline to Accept/Decline: April 5, 2019
Eligibility: K-12 teachers


This one-week intensive institute for K-12 teachers on the U.S. Constitution will focus specifically on the First Amendment and the delicate balance between the rights of individuals and the need to govern society and keep it safe. Approximately 30 participants from across the U.S. will convene in Philadelphia to engage in an intensive program involving readings about, lectures on, and analysis and discussions of constitutional law and Supreme Court case history pertaining to the First Amendment. These activities will deepen the teachers’ understanding of the purpose of the First Amendment, the freedoms protected by it, and the history of its evolving meaning and interpretation. In addition, participants will receive materials and tools to help them incorporate the study of the First Amendment into their teaching, including a list of books, casebook and suggested lesson plans/activities to enhance their current civics course content.

There is no better time to be studying the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court, with all that has happened since Bush v. Gore in 2000, to the Court’s membership and the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts’ interpretations of the Bill of Rights. In the four decades that I have been teaching and studying about Constitutional law, the Supreme Court, and American political history, I have never seen anything like we are experiencing now. The dramatic changes in the meaning of the First Amendment in the last three decades, together with the battles over the appointments of Judges Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh to the Court, have politicized the institution of the Supreme Court. (read more)

— Bruce Allen Murphy, PhD, Program Director

The Institute will be held at the National Constitution Center, where attendees can take advantage of the rich resources offered by the only museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution. There they can explore the many powerful exhibits, have lively discussions with museum educators, and/or discover ways to incorporate the web-based, Interactive Constitution into their classrooms. During “The First Amendment and 21st Century America” Summer Institute, we will explore the theories behind the Founding Founders’ vision of the First Amendment, the changes in its meaning resulting from the use of the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause to extend First Amendment protections to the states, and the justices’ decision-making and jurisprudential approaches in landmark constitutional cases regarding First Amendment protections.

Get more information about our upcoming First Amendment Summer Institute for K-12 Teachers

Filling out and submitting the form above will let us send you institute updates as soon as they become available.

For additional information, contact Beth Specker, Executive Director:

P: 215-746-6336

E: bspecker@rendellcenter.org

Thanks to our institute partner, the National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center logo


Additional institute information coming in the months ahead!

National Endowment for the Humanities logoAny views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.