D.C. Students Vie for First Place at Simulated Congressional Hearings

150 Students to Debate Constitution, Compete for National Title

Jan 12, 2010, 11:10 ET from Center for Civic Education

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The District of Columbia will have its first chance in three years to capture a national education title as 150 students from D.C. middle and high schools face off in a comprehensive competition debating local and federal public policy.

The competition -- We the People: The Citizen and Constitution -- sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, will be held on January 14, 2010 for middle school students, and on January 28, 2010 for high school students. Both events will take place at the historic Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives at 17th and M Streets in Northwest Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will deliver the key note address and distribute awards at the high school-level national competition award ceremony.

During the event, students will have the opportunity to discuss the Constitutional philosophy behind key issues facing the District and our country, including the following:

  • As Congress debates health care reform, students will address the question: "What might the consequences be for individuals and society of placing too great an emphasis on the common good over the rights of individuals? Of emphasizing the rights of individuals over the common good?"

  • As conservatives and liberals debate the proper role of the courts, students will discuss the benefits and controversies surrounding "judicial review."

  • Members of Congress -- in both the Bush and Obama administrations -- frequently called for limits on presidential power. Students will discuss the checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution and their relevance today.

  • In the wake of stimulus packages, health care votes, and omnibus bills that fund our government -- as well as promises of transparency from Washington -- students will discuss what provisions of the Constitution encourage or discourage true deliberation in Congress.  

The winning high school class, to be announced on January 28th, will advance to the We the People national competition, in Arlington, Virginia, April 24 through April 26, 2010 -- After two days of competition, the top ten teams will then advance to the final rounds, which will be held in the Congressional committee hearing rooms on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. At the event, students have a chance to compete in the simulated congressional hearing against first place regional winners from D.C. and across the United States, to vie for the national title.

The participating middle schools are:  Chavez - Bruce Prep; Chavez - Parkside; KIPP DC; KEY Academy; Lincoln; Multicultural - SEED School; and Stuart-Hobson.  High school participants include: Chavez - Capitol Hill; Chavez - Parkside; Maya Angelou - Evans; National Cathedral and St. Johns.

The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.

SOURCE Center for Civic Education