To the editor:
I appreciated “Teaching Americans about our identity” by Nat Hentoff on your Nov. 4 Opinion page regarding the importance of civic education. He spoke of the value of connecting to our history, understanding that history and the reasons to protect our rights and our Constitution.
In our ongoing effort to promote civic responsibility, education and leadership, the State Bar of Nevada’s law-related education section helps children statewide in grades K-12 learn about the law, the legal system, and their rights and responsibilities through activities that involve students, educators and lawyers.
Our bar association is involved in a number of worthwhile programs that promote cooperative learning, problem solving, and positive interactions between students and members of the legal community.
Law-related education has been shown to increase civic-mindedness, critical thinking, reading skills and math skills. It connects students to the values of being American, good citizens and good neighbors. It has also been shown to reduce crime and to increase communication skills.
Our “We the People” district finals will take place Dec. 12 in Reno and Las Vegas. U.S. District Court Judge Philip M. Pro will oversee the proceedings. Our high school mock trial teams, coached by practicing attorneys, will compete in district competitions in February 2010, and our statewide competition will take place in Carson City in March 2010.
We also encourage attorneys to speak in classrooms about legal issues and law-related careers throughout the state. Our young lawyers section sponsors the “Goldilocks” trials, Ask a Lawyer, and other programs explaining the impact of law and legal issues with age-appropriate information.
The State Bar of Nevada, with its 8,000 active members, is proud to work with the Center for Civic Education, Street Law, Inc. and teachers statewide to incorporate such programs as “We the People,” Project Citizen, Community Works, Law Day and Street Law into curriculums, after-school programs and community-wide programs.
These programs exemplify the State Bar’s commitment to ongoing civic education. More information is available at www.nvbar.org — click on Law-Related Education.
Kathleen J. England
THE WRITER IS PRESIDENT OF THE STATE BAR OF NEVADA.