What is Constitutional Democracy?

This week, the Illinois Civics Hub foray into the themes of the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Roadmap featured Dr. Emma Humphries and Natacha Scott from iCivics who unpacked how the EAD Roadmap can help inform instruction around the question, “What is Constitutional Democracy?

This question hails from Theme 4- A New Constitution and A New Government in the Roadmap.  The question of how to define the form of government in the United States is an enduring one that spans from the founding to the present. The webinar opened with the poll question below.

How did you respond? The question was one that the authors of the EAD Roadmap themselves wrestled with, landing on the term “Constitutional Republic” because:

But as the Declaration of Independence makes clear, self-government depends on both liberty and equality. It is, after all, the work of free and equal citizens. It requires both order and participation. The phrase “constitutional democracy” honors both sides of the debate. (EAD Roadmap Report p. 25)

While the EAD Roadmap is NOT a national curriculum or set of standards, the themes and pedagogy within can provide important guidance for addressing essential questions and local implementation of state standards. For example, as you can see from the examples in the chart below, the EAD Roadmap driving questions provide context for understanding “what to teach”, or supporting questions for inquiry, to meet the Illinois Social Science Standards (ILSSS) on “Civic and Political Institutions.”

If you missed the webinar, you can access a recording to learn how the EAD Roadmap can enhance lesson planning and curriculum design in both history and civics for grades K-12. Also be sure to visit the EAD Resource Page for high quality resources aligned to each of the themes in the Roadmap.

It is not too late to register for the rest of our Illinois Civics Hub summer Professional Development series. There are two strands of professional development. On Tuesday mornings, powerful pedagogy will be the focus to help with summer curriculum projects. 

Wednesday morning webinars will put the spotlight on some of the leading civic learning providers in the nation to address a thematic question from the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap.

Each session will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT. Educators can join live to interact with participants, or watch a recording of each session for their own #PoolsidePD. The webinars are free, and Illinois educators can elect to earn PD credits for attending the webinar and completing a brief, post-webinar application activity.

A description for each webinar and information to register for professional development credits through the DuPage Regional Office of Education is available on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development Calendar.