National Academy 2008

My Wish for You: A Letter to My Students Past, Present and Future

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Katie Reen graciously shared a copy of her oral exam paper incorporating her insighhts from the National Academy at Occidental College last summer. Katie’s students are 11 and 12 years old and she explains, “The concept of my paper is a letter to my students, past, present and future about what I wish for them as people and as citizens.” Below is the section related to citizenship… Now you know that no love letter written to you from me would be complete without my wishes for you as citizens of our community, our country and our world.  And you may…

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A Paradigm: Six Words for the National Academy

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You might remember a New York Times contest to craft a six word motto for the United States. We turned the powerhouse of Academy thinking at the question. Laura suggested a phrase you might recognize… “MUTUAL GUARDIANS OF OUR MUTUAL HAPPINESS” I think that phrase resonated as a result of her work at Monpelier’s NEH Landmark institute. Keith reviewed his notes from the Academy and provided a whole list of possibilities! This year’s National Academy wrestled a rigorous three weeks but still found time to toy with the idea of what six words would be the best represent their three…

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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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Constitutional Thinking Requires Constitutional Teaching

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At the National Academy today, Kevin Fox presented his thoughts on his own constitutional thinking and teaching. In the Academy tradition, his inquiry started with, “What is it?”. His answers included… Reasoned Reflective Creative constructive imaginative Present on-going Whole ordered (not orderly) Scientific systematic experimental Balanced (between extremes) Inclusive (of the parts and the whole) Serious (treat ideas seriously) Complex (surplus of mind) Teaching beyond the test Purpose driven Problem generating & solving With a quick wit, he concluded this line of thought with a simple paraphrase of James Bradley Thayer’s doctrine of constitutional interpretation, “Let them hurt. Make them…

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