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Educating Civil Society’s Leaders

While K-12 civic education has many strong providers, and many organizations now work with adults to improve civil discourse, only a few organizations successfully engage post-college and non-college adults in civic knowledge and understanding. Please contact the Roundtable if you are interested to help fill this gap and reach adults, the largest component of our civil society.

One model has several dozen community leaders each year attend a series of nine full-day sessions at the Leadership Program of the Rockies. This program educates key opinion leaders from diverse backgrounds—business, politics, medicine, education, the media—to understand constitutional principles and become more effective communicators to their peers. National experts on current events, leadership, and political processes lead the sessions. More than 1,500 graduates are now influential ambassadors of political and economic freedom throughout Colorado, and the program is expanding into other states.

Nine free online courses about the Constitution at Hillsdale College including Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution have reached about one million citizens around the country to date. Hillsdale’s monthly publication Imprimis also commonly features essays that advance civic knowledge among an estimated 4 million readers. The June 2019 issue provides the history of the Electoral College, for example, and in the February 2019 issue, the author reminds us that “America’s own Sons of Liberty in 1776...toppled a statue of the hated George III and melted down its lead to make 40,000 musket balls.” Hillsdale’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship extends the College’s educational mission to teach the Constitution into Washington, D.C., through frequent events. The Kirby Center’s James Madison Fellows Program has engaged more than 200 senior congressional staff.

The Heritage Foundation regularly educates adults on the Constitution through two centers in particular: the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics. Both centers publish research on constitutional topics and host lectures in Washington, DC, in addition to specialized training programs in U.S. law. Heritage also offers the Heritage Guide to the Constitution featuring line-by-line analysis of every clause, as well as teacher resources, available in print and online (with more than 20 million lifetime views); a Preserve the Constitution lecture series where law and policy professionals analyze major contemporary constitutional issues; and a Young Leaders Program, with 15-week internship programs that have taught more than 4,500 students.

In addition to the National Constitution Center’s debate-format We the People podcast, two podcasts make it easy for adults to brush up on constitutional principles. Civics 101, produced by New Hampshire Public Radio and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, features two podcasts per month at 20 to 30 minutes. Civics 101 also provides teaching resources including shorter clips for the classroom. 60 Second Civics, as advertised, is a daily offering from the Center for Civic Education on a constitutional topic or historical event.


Leadership Program of the Rockies

Denver, CO

Annual expenditures: $1.1 million

President: Shari Williams



Hillsdale College

Hillsdale, MI

Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs: Matt Spalding



Heritage Foundation

Washington, D.C.

President: Kay Coles James



Center for Civic Education

Calabasas, CA

Executive Director: Charles Quigley



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