Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
In this article, Cathy Travis, a long-term Congressional staff person for Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.), presents a lesson on how to amend the U.S. Constitution and engages students in consideration of the pros and cons of potential new amendments. She focuses particularly on current topics and those of special interest to students, e.g., the voting age, smoking, campaign finance. The lesson is written in a manner that can be shared directly with students.
Student Exercise in Democracy
Since the Constitution is not finished, what are some other ideas for
amendments to the Constitution? Debate them to understand why some things
are just too hard to get agreement by two-thirds of any group.
In every debate about a new amendment, the most important question is:
how vital is this that it must be added to the Constitution, or can Congress
or local governments just make a law or a rule to deal with this issue?
If you can get two-thirds of any group to support any of these amendments, remember the actual process of adopting an amendment to the United States Constitution would also require that the amendment be adopted by two-thirds of the United States Congress and three-fourths of the states as well. 1
Incidentally, many of these amendments are actually proposed by someone in Congress or the states to amend the Constitution.