Judges and lawyers helping teachers teach
According to statistics cited by the American Board of Trial Advocates Foundation, more than half of high school graduates in America don't know the three branches of government.
The most common answer among those who don't know is "Democrat, Republican and Independent," said attorney Scott Costantino, co-chair of the 2013 Teachers' Law School and president-elect of the ABOTA Jacksonville chapter.
As a way to improve understanding of American government and the legal system, the local chapter hosted a daylong workshop Tuesday at the Duval County Courthouse.
More than 40 middle- and high-school social studies, government, law and civics teachers from Duval County Public Schools participated and heard presentations from judges and attorneys about the federal and state court systems, the right to a jury trial and the branches of government.
"One of ABOTA's missions is to educate the public about the legal system. The right to a jury trial is a fundamental right," said Costantino.
Teachers' Law School is a national program intended to "give teachers the resources they need to educate the next generation," he said.
Philip Little, grants coordinator for Duval County Public Schools, said civics education was removed from the curriculum for several years, but has been restored.
"The judges and attorneys take the time to do this and the teachers really appreciate it. It inspires the teachers, and they take that back to the classroom," he said.