MediaQuire by Victoria lynn Weston
We can’t ignore the fact: “The Constitution is rarely a topic of classroom discussion these days,” says Janine Turner, actress best known of her roles in “Northern Exposure” and “Friday Night Lights”. Today, public school teachers are pressured to teach science, English and math with less time to focus on civil issues and the US Constitution.”
The good news is, that’s changing. In 2010, Janine Turner had an epiphany about the Founding Fathers’ Principles and founded Constituting America, an online forum packed with Constitutional documents, scholar essays and exciting contests targeted toward students. Every year, they feature the 90 in 90 project: History holds the key to our Future. “Students and adults can learn about the Constitution in 90 days,” says Janine.
Today’s daily reading is about: Fragment on the Constitution and the Union by Abraham Lincoln; “Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all”—the principle that clears the path for all—gives hope to all—and, by consequence, enterprise,and industry to all.”
The US Constitution is America’s most important document. “We can’t just say the Constitution is important, we must understand why the Constitution is important. It’s frustrating when I get into a conversation with some people who say, ‘the Constitution isn’t relevant…,’ The legitimacy of our government is in the Constitution. It protects the fundamental rights of every US citizen. We just wanted another way to educate people.”
“With today’s youth engaged in texting, tweeting, Facebooking and watching reality shows, they aren’t interested in learning beyond what is taught at schools. They brush off what they don’t know. George Washington said, ‘the problem with democracy is, until people feel it, they can’t see it.'”
How do you inspire kids to learn about our Founding Fathers and the Constitution? “We examined what they liked; “they like movies, they like “the Voice”, they love being in front of the camera and they like scholarship money. Constituting America launched a variety of contests for students to submit essays, poems, film shorts, PSAs and music videos. Winners receive scholarship funds and an all expense paid trip to Philadelphia with private tours to see historical monuments. Students are excited at what they have produced. They are engaged in our country’s history and the process of bringing that history into their own lives and peers. They give the Constitution a new voice and it keeps the conservation alive. Everybody wins as a result.”
“We need to remember we are all Americans. George Washington said, the party system would be the demise of America because we care more about our party than we do about being an American. We are all Americans – the Constitution is for everybody. We need to be knowledgeable and to understand it. Learn about it in our 90 in 90 project. Let’s not attack it before we understand it.
Let’s not condemn what we do not know. The Constitution is not a partisan document. It’s for everybody.”
Janine Turner is an actress and the founder and co-chairman of “Constituting America.” Co-chaired by grassroots organizer Cathy Gillespie, this innovative non-profit campaign offers teachers, students and citizens a wide of variety of resources for learning more about America’s founding principles. For more visit ConstitutingAmerica.org.