Legislators Back to School Program
Bring civics to life! Invite a Montana legislator into your classroom!
The Legislators Back to School Program was created in 2000 to help young citizens gain a better understanding of the value and concepts of representative democracy. These include the importance of negotiation and compromise and the challenges involved in balancing competing interests in a diverse society. At the same time, the program brings civics to life by giving students a chance to talk face to face with the state legislators who represent them.
In Montana, the program is sponsored by the state Legislative Council in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nationwide, nonpartisan organization that provides state legislators and their staffs with research and technical assistance.
Legislators are uniquely qualified to help young people - the nation's future leaders and voters - understand their roles and responsibilities as citizens. In addition to the obvious benefits for students, the program encourages mutual understanding between lawmakers and schools and involves legislators in civic education.
The program is not aimed at teaching the fundamentals of government; nor is it meant to be an opportunity for campaigning or partisanship. The program is aimed at teaching the concepts of representative democracy, including the place of conflict and compromise in the legislative process.
Legislators who participate in the program have access to age-appropriate, nationally developed classroom materials that have been specifically correlated to Montana social studies standards.
The Legislators Back to School Program is endorsed by several major education associations, including:
- American Association of School Administrators
- American Federation of Teachers
- Center for Civic Education
- National Association of Elementary School Principals
- National Association of Secondary School Principals
- National Education Association
- National Middle School Association
- National School Boards Association