National Civic Education Leaders to Speak at Constitution Day


by Brett BucknerA group of distinguished educators and academics will soon descend upon Jacksonville State's campus to discuss and debate one of the most central ideas of America itself – democracy.On Friday, Sept. 15, the Tocqueville Lecture Series and the JSU American Democracy Project will celebrate Constitution Day by presenting "Reflective Patriotism and Civic Friendship: Educating for American Democracy in a Polarized Age," from 2-4 p.m., in Merrill Hall, Room B01. The event is free and open to the public. A virtual option is also available. To register for the Zoom option, visit include Dr. Jane Kamensky, a Harvard University history professor, and Dr. Paul Carrese, founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. Moderated by Dr. Ben Gross, JSU assistant professor of political science, they will discuss civic education, freedom of speech and American democracy.Both Kamensky and Carrese are principal investigators of the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and others. It brought more than 300 people together – including professors, K-12 teachers and non-profits – to develop a civic education program that inspires students to learn by asking difficult questions.“The EAD initiative was designed by people across multiple academic fields and different types of professions," Gross said. “In this way, it is the an interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary approach to civic education. It embraces that civics will include disagreement and focuses on the process of civic dialogue rather than the outcome of a shared ideology."The lecture at JSU is sponsored by the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic education, which has signed on to be a supporter of the Educating for American Democracy project. In addition, Arizona State University and iCivics have provided additional funding to support the professional development of current and future K-12 teachers.Local teachers and JSU education majors are invited to a professional development session to discover how to implement the EAD and other civic education techniques in the K-12 setting. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 15, participants will engage with Jeff Davis, program director for civic education at Arizona State, and Emma Humphries, Chief Education Officer of iCivics, the non-profit organization established by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.“In the ever-increasing battles over civic education, I think this training is priceless for all our students and area teachers," Gross said.The morning session will be held at JSU's College of Education and Professional Studies Complex, Room 124. To register, pre-service and in-service teachers need a PowerSchool account. They can register for the professional development session by visiting questions, contact Dr. Gross at