Background

Since its establishment, the Center has been committed to strengthening the teaching of federalism in higher education as well as in elementary and secondary schools. As early as 1972, the Center had developed “I am the Mayor,” a simulation game for elementary and middle school students on the role of local government in the American federal system.

Higher Education

The Conference for Federal Studies (CFS) was established in the early 1970s as a forum and clearinghouse for federalism professors to share not only their research but also their teaching. For decades, the Center published the membership newsletter CFS Notebook, which regularly featured university course syllabi on federalism and related topics by distinguished professors in the field. CFS Publications include study guides and research tools. In 1972, the Center received a grant from the U.S. Office of Education to establish a graduate studies program at Temple University for Comparative Federal and Urban Studies (see Comparative Federalism tab).

Secondary Education

In the early 1970s, Center Fellow Ellis Katz began organizing teacher education programs as a Temple University professor in political science with specializations in education policy and foundations of education and as coordinator of the Pennsylvania Educational Seminar. Beginning in the late 1970s, he organized teacher seminars sponsored by the Robert A. Taft Institute of Government that brought teachers together with political leaders, journalists, and scholars to discuss issues relating to federalism and state education policy. In 1979, the State Politics Teaching Project brought together 12 experts of their respective state’s government and politics to develop source material and guides for undergraduate students studying American state government.

Federalism and Civic Education

In 1982, the Center received a grant from the U. S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) at the National Institute of Education, U.S. Department of Education, to develop a project titled “Utilizing Federalist Principles in Civic Education.” Under the direction of Daniel J. Elazar and Ellis Katz, the project was predicated on a four-part rationale: (1) the United States is a federal democracy established and maintained partly on the principles of federalism; (2) the teaching of these federal principles is an ever-shrinking component of the civic education curriculum and where it is taught it focuses primarily on dry institutional facts; (3) state and national civics curricula should revive and expand their emphasis on federalism along with constitutionalism and republicanism as the principles that inform America’s federal democracy; and (4) this project will meet this need by bringing together master teachers and federalism scholars to explore how and where to incorporate content themes of federalism into the curriculum development of courses in U.S. government, politics, and history.

In November 1982, the Center began this project by convening a team of educators and federalism scholars to design the outlines of this project at a meeting in Philadelphia. Scholars included John F. Bibby (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) on the organization of political parties as federal systems; Daniel J. Elazar (Temple University) on principles of federal democracy; Ellis Katz (Temple University) on state education policies and civics textbooks along with Frederick Wirt (University of Illinois) on state education standards; John Kincaid (North Texas State University) on pluralism and political culture; Samuel Krislov (University of Minnesota) on federalism and constitutional law; Donald Lutz (University of Houston) on the political theory of the federal republic; Robert Salisbury (Washington University, St. Louis, MO) on local governments in the federal system; and Stephen Schechter (Russell Sage College) on the states in the federal system. Educators at this meeting included Barry Adler, principal of the Thomas Paine Elementary School, Cherry Hill, NJ, and Jo Ann Weinberger of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The participants met a second time to discuss working drafts of papers presented by each of the scholars. This meeting was held in August 1983 in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Scholars revised their papers and the Center published the results in a teacher’s manual, Teaching About American Federal Democracy edited by Stephen Schechter and published by the Center in 1984.

John Kincaid published “Federalism” and “State and Local Government,” Civitas: A Framework for Civic Education, ed. C. F. Bahmueller, 391-416 & 465-86. Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic Education, 1991.

Teacher Institutes

“History, Tradition, and Democratic Theory in the American State Constitutions,” National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Teacher Institute, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 2004. Directed by John Kincaid.

“History, Tradition, and Democratic Theory in the American State Constitutions,” National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Teacher Institute, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 2002. Directed by John Kincaid.

“Classic Works of American Federal Democracy,” Summer Teacher Institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Steamboat Springs, CO, July 1994. Directed by Daniel J. Elazar.

“Federalism and Rights Program,” workshop for U.S. teachers and related program, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, October 1991 – June 1993. Directed by Joseph Marbach.

“Classic Works of American Federal Democracy,” Summer Teacher Institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Breckenridge, CO, August 1990. Directed by Daniel J. Elazar.

“Federalism and American Liberty,” a Liberty Fund Conference for high school teachers. Directed by Daniel J. Elazar, Bloomington, IN, April 13 – 16, 1989.

“Classic Works of American Federal Democracy,” Summer Teacher Institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Copper Mountain, CO, August 1986. Directed by Daniel J. Elazar.

“Publius, De Tocqueville, and Civic Education,” Summer Teacher Institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana State University, Bozeman, MO, August 1984. Directed by Daniel J. Elazar.

The Council for Citizenship Education

In 1990, Center Fellow Stephen Schechter established the Council for Citizenship Education at Russell Sage College. Its mission is to equip young people of New York State and elsewhere with the knowledge and skills for thoughtful and effective participation in the public life of their local community, state, nation, and international system in the 21st century. The Council’s programs do not focus exclusively on federalism. They are part of a broader commitment to advance the centrality of political principles including federalism in civic education. Council programs include college-school partnerships, such as Crossroads of Civilization funded in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Education to work with the Albany City School District to develop a sixth-grade World History/Global Studies curriculum with thematic essays for the teacher written by Daniel J. Elazar; serving as New York State Coordinator of the Center for Civic Education’s (CCE) We the People network; writing the curriculum guidelines for the 12th grade New York State civics course, Participation in Government; serving as a member of CCE’s international Civitas network in Russia; and developing civic education partnerships across Eurasia graduating 150,000 students per year and training 7,500 teachers per year with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State. As part of this international work, Schechter served as senior author of a high school and college textbook, Exploring Political Ideas published by CQ Press in 2010.