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DENVER – For over a decade, state legislators have made it a tradition to teach young people—the nation's future voters and leaders—what it's like to serve as an elected official.
Lawmakers of both political parties visit classrooms in elementary, middle and high schools across the country to talk about the legislative process and bring civics to life for students as part of the America’s Legislators Back to School Program.
This program was founded in 1999 as a one-day activity as part of the Trust for Representative Democracy at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Since then, the program has grown to a year-round event and has reached more than 2 million students. It kicks off the third week of September and runs throughout the school year. The 2012 Back to School Program began Monday, Sept. 17.
"NCSL’s Back to School program goes beyond the textbook to show students what it’s really like to be a legislator," said New Hampshire Representative Terie Norelli, president of NCSL. "Our legislators are thrilled to share their experiences debating bills, negotiating deals, and building consensus. This is about inspiring the next generation to love civics. Who knows? Maybe I’ll call some of these young citizens ‘Mr. Speaker’ or ‘Madam President’ some day."
Over the past decade, NCSL has distributed close to 3 million copies of materials about representative democracy for legislators to use in their presentations to K-12 classes. NCSL also provides training, promotional strategies and organizational support.
The America's Legislators Back to School Programs is endorsed by several major education associations, including:
American Association of School Administrators
American Federation of Teachers
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
Center for Civic Education
Center on Congress at Indiana University
Close Up Foundation
Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
National Catholic Educational Association
National Constitution Center
National Council for the Social Studies
National Education Association
National Middle School Association
National School Boards Association
Reading Recovery Council of North America
The Dirksen Congressional Center
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.
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