Learning About the Constitution from My Students

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Saturday was Constitution Day. Last week, I taught my Civics class for legal permanent residents applying for citizenship at CARECEN. The class focused, appropriately, on the Constitution.

I taught them about the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers, the functions of each branch of government, and the Amendments, all in 2 ½ hours!

My students are most amazed by the idea of checks and balances. Some came from dictatorships where what one man says is the law. One student told me that a lot of immigrants think that the president can make his own laws and they are disappointed when they find out he can’t. My student said he was glad the Founders had insured against a dictator, but he wondered if our present system stopped anything from getting done.

Perhaps our leaders can strike a new balance between fiat and gridlock.


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