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Civic Education Toolkit Now Available

11/18/2021

The Pennsylvania Courts are celebrating American Education Week by launching a civics education digital toolkit aimed at helping students learn about the work and role of the Pennsylvania courts.

Civics education undoubtedly plays a vital role in maintaining a strong democracy, as a basic understanding of how government works is required for citizens to become active participants in society. As one of the three branches of government, the judiciary reflects the core values of American democracy while acting as one of its essential pillars.

Recognizing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court created the Commission on Judicial Independence (PACJI) in 2005. Among their chief tasks, they are charged with fostering a greater public understanding about the role of the judiciary and explaining the essential need of an independent judiciary in America. As part of their efforts, the material was created as a resource for teachers, students, and the public to learn more about the work, role, and structure of the state’s courts.

Features of the civics education toolkit include the following:

  • Digital one-pagers on topics exploring the layers of the Pennsylvania court system, how the courts work, the importance of judicial independence, the role of a judge, how judges are elected, and how a case progresses through the system and much more;
  • Videos to complement and further expand on topics,giving a visual aid to students and teachers;
  • 3D video offering tours of courtrooms,complete with interactive educational points to learn more about the effects in the rooms; and
  • Games for the younger audience including the Flat Judge project, modeled after the Flat Stanley project used by schools across the nation.
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