National Academy 2007

Project Citizen

Project Citizen

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Having been briefly introduced to Project Citizen at the National Academy, I decided to try it out this year.  It’s an ideal, outcome-based activity as much about the journey as the finish.  And the great thing about the finish is that it’s really just the beginning, for students receive the tools to research and formulate public policy.  In the end, it is incredibly empowering for the kids to discover the pathways through which they can enact change. A few words from my fourth-graders (non-speakers) when asked today by the panel what they had learned from the experience: “I learned what…

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National Academy 2008: Is it Over?

National Academy 2008: Is it Over?

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The Rangeview building is nearly quiet this afternoon. It isn’t that the exchange students all went to the beach today but that this year’s National Academy has run out of time. The machines still hum but the electricity of rigorous academic work is missing. From a discussion of constitutional citizenship befitting an intelligent people to an afternoon of panel presentations, our Friday was heavy with hard work and world-making ideas. This is the Academy that forever has the story of the L.A. quake during a lecture and 100 different strategies for propping a door open. I don’t think I’ve ever…

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On Theory, Poetry, and the American Constitution

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I think to appreciate or even tolerate this post you have to accept at face value Will Harris’s assertion that Americans “live in a theory.” The theory is derived from the Constitution and includes such central organizing ideas as innovation, wholeness, inquiry, optimism, order, deliberation, and covenant to name a small and perhaps unrepresentative subset. Generally speaking, a theory has the following components: 1. It organizes communication. 2. It organizes ideas. 3. It generates new ideas. 4. It displays the complexities of a problem. 5. It guides investigation. 6. It generates explanations and predictions. This stuff is nothing new to…

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Music!

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I’ve been exploring the boxes through music, and it’s been pretty darn sweet. Minus the Norm-like bar tab, the search has offered continuous insight into the layers. As last summer, I’ll think that I have it figured out, then realize that I’m deconstructing or simplifying. It interests me to juxtapose anti-fed v. fed with political parties with human behaviors with fate/ free will! The tracks list represents some of my leisure. I wish I could play music on this site. Alas..! I can and will mail a copy of the disks to interested parties. My first version has been revised…

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What Are the Most Federalist Songs?

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Something Will said this Summer boomeranged and smacked me into thinking about Federalist songs. What would make a song distinctively Federalist?  I began to brainstorm characteristics which I thought Federalist in nature: SCIENCE, FUTURE, HOPE, FREE, WORLDLY, REGENERATING, OPEN-MINDED, and so forth.  Many songs are upbeat, and do convey multiple aspects of Federalist thinking.  In fact, I think that when some people think about the spirit of ROCK, they do so with a very Federalist ideal: think Jack Black in School of Rock or Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. I’m going to withhold my favorites in hopes that we get some…

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Deep Light

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On the way home from the store tonight, I listened for the first time to Van Morrison’s rendition (with the Chieftains) of the 19th century folk song Shenandoah.Like many other things the past three weeks, it reminded me of the Academy. From a purely cognitive standpoint, the Academy was immensely satisfying, and I will transfer a great deal of its content into my 12 sections (seriously!) of U.S. Government this year. But it is my heart that has changed more than anything. It would be hard to describe what I mean by this, so I won’t (at least not with…

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A Day at the Beach

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It was the first weekend of the National Academy. In a daze, Keith made his way to Venice Beach and found he was surrounded… Cicero Aristotle Moses Madison And perhaps worst of all, he knew he was trapped in a covenant he could never leave… –posted by Shellee with many thanks to Keith for the pictures

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National Academy 2007: A Whole Lot of Thanks

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The mystery of the last box has been revealed. Twenty-four teachers from all over the United States and one civic leader from Mexico City have found their way home…perhaps even unpacked their boxes of books from L.A. The 2007 National Academy is now a thing of the past but continues to loom large in expressions of gratitude. Kerryn from Houston wrote from her room at LMU that last night… Well the party downstairs just wound down to a close and I wanted to say thank you for a great three weeks. Down in Texas it is easy to forget that…

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