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From left, Florida American Board of Trial Advocates President Robert C. Palmer III; Duval County Public Schools Grants Coordinator Phillip Little; and Scott Costantino, president-elect of the ABOTA Jacksonville chapter.
Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 13, 201412:00 PM EST

A field trip and a civics lesson for teachers instead of students

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

If you can name the three branches of government, you can do something that more than half of high school graduates can’t, according to statistics from the American Board of Trial Advocates.

That’s because civics was removed from school curriculums years ago, said attorney Robert C. Palmer, president of the Florida regional chapter of ABOTA.

He took a break from his practice in Pensacola on Tuesday to participate in the fifth annual Teachers’ Law School presented by the Jacksonville ABOTA chapter. The group worked with the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida and Duval County Public Schools on the event.

More than 60 public school instructors spent the day in the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse hearing presentations on the roles and jurisdictions of state and federal courts, the branches of government, the right to a jury trial, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“We have a whole generation of teachers who weren’t educated in civics in high school,” Palmer said.

In addition to the presentations, the teachers received materials that will help them take what they heard back to the classroom.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard, one of the presenters, said she and U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan began developing the annual local program five years ago with a two-fold purpose.

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