Can teaching underserved students the habits of intellectual humility and civil dialogue improve the civic knowledge and openness to diverse perspectives on which the future of the American Republic depends?
Building on the success of the Interactive Constitution, made possible by the John Templeton Foundation and expanded by support from others, the National Constitution Center has created a program where thousands of students from undeserved public, parochial, and charter schools in the Philadelphia region can learn about the principles of American constitutionalism and civil dialogue through an in-person visit , preceded by preparation with the Interactive Constitution in their classrooms, and culminating in online conversations with other schools across the country.
The core deliverables of the Constitutional Ambassadors program include a four-hour experience at the NCC where students will be introduced to the habits of intellectual humility and civil dialogue through the NCC’s innovative and nonpartisan approach to constitutional education. Beginning with a new partnership with School District of Philadelphia, led by Superintendent Dr. William Hite, the NCC will educate up to ten thousand public, charter and parochial high school students in year one, and will expand to middle school students in years two and three. The program will also educate participating teachers about how to teach constitutional principles and civil dialogue in workshops before the visit.
The experience will culminate after the students leave by designating them as Constitutional Ambassadors to connect with other students in classrooms across the country for conversations about the Constitution, moderated by judges and master teachers. The measurable impact of the program will be an increase in substantive knowledge about the Constitution, as well as facility with the habits of civil dialogue and openness to divergent perspectives, for thousands of students a year.