In 2011, the American Bar Association co-authored a report on the civic mission of schools which noted that a recent Annenberg Institute for Civics survey about the Constitution indicated that only 38% of Americans could name all three branches of our government; 33% couldn’t name any branch.

Recognizing that an educated citizenry is critical to good government and seeing an opportunity to help in our community schools, the Bar Commission created  the Civics Education Committee to develop and promote a one-hour course to be taught in Utah schools. The course focuses on the role of the three branches of government and the importance of an independent judiciary.

The Utah State Bar, through its Civics Committee, has created a one-hour lesson plan on the United States Constitution, emphasizing such foundational tenets as separation of powers, rule of law and the importance of an independent judiciary. In addition, hundreds of attorneys across the state, including Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham, Federal District Court Judge Dee Benson and other judges and community leaders, have volunteered to partner with the Utah teachers in presenting this lesson. Last year 174 volunteer attorneys and judges presented the Constitutional lesson in 193 classrooms, assemblies and community youth councils in 15 counties across the State.  Due to a shortage in volunteers, some classes that requested the program did not have an opportunity to participate.  This year we hope to eclipse these numbers and ensure that every interested classroom has the opportunity to participate .

We are currently looking for more attorneys to volunteer in classrooms across the state during the week of September 16-20. We hope you will join with us in participating in this outreach program.

For survey:  http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/new-annenberg-survey-asks-how-well-do-americans-understand-the-constitution/.

For report:  http://civicmission.s3.amazonaws.com/118/f0/5/171/1/Guardian-of-Democracy-report.pdf.

Also 2005 ABA survey:  http://www.justiceteaching.org/resource_material/ABASurvey.pdf