We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is an instructional program that promotes civic competence and responsibility among South Dakota’s elementary, middle and high school students. The program enhances students’ understanding of the history and foundation of the United States’ constitutional democracy as well as the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Since its inception in 1987, We the People has enhanced the Constitutional education of more than 30 million students. The Center for Civic Education is the national administrator of the program, and the Chiesman Center for Democracy coordinates the program for South Dakota.
We the People has three age-specific curriculum sets to meet the needs of upper elementary, middle and high school students. High school classes also have the option of using the enhanced ebook in a variety of platform for computers, iPads, tablets, or smartphones. The texts comprise much more than just factual knowledge; students learn to utilize critical-thinking skills to apply Constitutional principles to current issues. Students learn to speak publically, defend their positions, and ultimately develop better civic skills as well as knowledge.
In addition to the classroom instruction, the students participate in a culminating activity, a mock Congressional hearing during which students “testify” before a panel of judges. There is a statewide competition for high school students, held in Pierre at the State Capitol, and the winner advances to the national competition in Washington, DC. Elementary and middle school students may demonstrate their skills in school or community showcases.