This blog will highlight Baylor students participating in 8-10 week summer internships with established non-profit organizations and civic groups. Students are chosen for their commitment to create systemic social change and for their ability to connect their placement to their discipline of study. These are the future movers and shakers of the non profit and for profit world. Join the dialogue.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paul Baumgardner – June 20, 2011

From the first day that I came to work at the Constitutional Rights Foundation, my bosses had projects waiting for me. I've come to understand in these first few weeks at my internship that all hands are always on deck. This is largely because the task before the CRF is so daunting. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, a greater portion of state and federal educational funds have become allocated based on reading and mathematics test scores. Sadly, this has had an adverse effect on the traditional "disposable" subjects such as art and music, but it has also largely affected the civics education of public schools.

Many recent educational reports show the importance of civics education and constitutional literacy programs- knowledge of rights, increased democratic participation, greater volunteerism- however, this fundamental component of K-12 education has fallen victim to great retrenchment in many public schools. This has placed the burden on extracurricular learning exercises- which many schools don't have the time or resources for- and non-profits. The Constitutional Rights Foundation is one of the most involved civics education leaders in the American public schools. In the past few weeks, I have already spoken to dozens of LA students who are enthusiastic about their specialized CRF learning (I am using these encounters as the basis for a movie that the organization will use to attract more public schools to our constitutional literacy programs). I am now beginning a new project focusing on bringing service-learning into the classrooms of underperforming schools. 

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