Former Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama will launch “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Summer Institute” at 7 p.m. Sunday with a keynote speech at the Jackson campus of Teton Science Schools.
Throughout the five-day institute, 15 teachers from Wyoming and North Dakota will learn about the We The People curriculum, which focuses on the history and principles of constitutional democracy in the U.S.
“[The curriculum] really runs the gamut,” said We The People Wyoming Coordinator Matt Strannigan, “from understanding the Constitution and the founding documents, understanding your rights under the Bill of Rights, to understanding the responsibilities that go along with those rights.”
The institute normally includes 30 teachers, but because of COVID-19 precautions the number of teachers — and the available space for Jones’ keynote speech — have been reduced.
Jones was also the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997 to 2001, during which time he successfully prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members for the murder of four Black girls in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.
“He’s a true American hero by any standard,” Strannigan said, “and has a very profound message for teachers.”
Jones, a Democrat, served as a U.S. senator from 2018 to 2021. In that time he signed 25 bipartisan bills that became law, according to Georgetown University. After losing the 2021 race to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Jones became a politics fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.
The We The People institute will comprise an advanced group of teachers, who will become further immersed in the curriculum, and beginner teachers, who will learn about the curriculum and how to implement it into their classrooms.
Some sample units in the six-unit high school curriculum are “How Has the Constitution Been Changed to Further the Ideals Contained in the Declaration of Independence?” and “What Rights Does the Bill of Rights Protect?”
Students immersed in the program can participate in simulated congressional hearings to test their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. More than 1,000 students competed in this year’s national finals, according to the Center for Civic Education, the organization that administers We the People.
Space is limited for Jones’ speech; to see if there’s room, contact Matt Strannigan at firstname.lastname@example.org. ￼