The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), together with a number of other organizations, announced its support to the National Constitution Center for the creation of the new Interactive Constitution: Classroom Edition, a cutting-edge, multi-media digital platform that will provide trusted, nonpartisan constitutional resources for middle and high school students and educators.
Launching on Constitution Day, September 17, 2019, the Interactive Constitution: Classroom Edition, is made possible through the generous support of individuals and organizations, including the Achelis & Bodman Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, the College Board, the Hertog Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund, The Snider Foundation, The Stanton Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The Classroom Edition will include educational videos; constitutional lesson plans; virtual exchanges that link classrooms across the country for moderated constitutional discussions; and other multimedia teaching resources that build on the success of the Interactive Constitution, which unites the leading liberal, conservative, and libertarian constitutional scholars in America to write essays exploring areas of agreement and disagreement on nearly every clause of the Constitution.
“Everyone at the National Constitution Center is thrilled by the broad and philosophically diverse support for our Interactive Constitution: Classroom Edition, which will allow us to teach all the major provisions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to learners of all ages and backgrounds across America,” said National Constitution President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. “Because of this generous support, the Interactive Constitution: Classroom Edition will connect students and classrooms across the country, using our virtual Classroom Exchanges for moderated constitutional conversations, in ways that will measurably improve constitutional understanding and civil dialogue in all fifty states of the Union”.
Teachers will use the lesson plans and multimedia teaching resources to prepare their students for the National Constitution Center’s virtual Classroom Exchanges, a new program which has been piloted by over 1,800 students in 78 classrooms across 24 states since September 2018. Through these exchanges, the National Constitution Center pairs classrooms from different parts of the country for conversations about high-profile constitutional issues, moderated by judges and master teachers. Using the exchanges, students of different backgrounds and perspectives can practice foundational rules of civil dialogue while applying basic principles of constitutional law and history to the questions most relevant to their lives.
“We’re grateful to partner with the National Constitution Center as well as other educational philanthropies to support new tools to empower educators and students to respectfully engage on relevant and often contentious issues,” said Charles Koch Foundation free expression director Sarah Ruger.
“While there seems to be broad consensus that the U.S. Constitution is the single most important document in American history, with profound consequences in our daily lives, this foundational text remains remarkably unfamiliar to the vast majority of this country’s citizenry. Addressing this can begin in the classroom,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is proud to support an opportunity for thousands of middle and high school students to meaningfully engage this indispensable source at a time of widespread public discourse about critical and complex constitutional issues.”
The Interactive Constitution has already been visited over 22 million times since the National Constitution Center launched it in September 2015. As a core feature of the Center’s educational efforts, the Interactive Constitution’s nonpartisan and ideologically balanced platform brings together scholars from across the legal and political spectrum to explore the meaning of each provision of the Constitution and help users to have informed, respectful, and up-to-date discussions and debates about the Constitution. In addition to the new content, the upgraded Interactive Constitution will feature a technologically enhanced platform to optimize user experience and increase accessibility for all learners.