We the People seeks support

March 14, 2011
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This post is by reporter Rebecca Berfanger.

Upon hearing news that funding for the We the People program may be slashed as of September due to looming budget cuts in Congress, a group of the program’s alumni in Indiana has started a Facebook page to gather signatures to encourage legislators to continue the program.

The page, which the Indiana We the People Alumni Facebook group posted as a Facebook event simply called, “Save We the People,” is open to all. By selecting “attending,” supporters can add their names to the petition.

As of this morning, nearly 3,600 people are “attending” the event. Organizers of the “event” have posted that they plan to send the letter to Congress as early as March 17.

“The WTP program has meant so much to Indiana, and changed my life forever,” wrote Erin Braun, a former director of civic education programs for the Indiana Bar Foundation and an alumna of the program. “The fact that future generations might never know WTP is simply unthinkable.”

Since the program moved to the Indiana State Bar Association and IBF, teams representing Indiana at mock congressional hearings in Washington, D.C., have placed in the top 10 at the national level five out of six times.

Team Indiana’s 28 seniors from Munster High School were among more than 1,100 high school students from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands, who participated in last year’s finals in April 2010. Another team from Munster High School is slated to represent Indiana again this spring after winning the state-level competition in December.

A similar program to We the People called Frontiers has already had its conference canceled due to budget cuts. That program offers a way for students to participate in civics education during evening and weekend programs because their schools do not participate in We the People through their school curriculums.

More information about the IBF’s civic education programs is available on its website.
 

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