The Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government, part of the University of Central Florida’s College of Sciences, has been recognized by the National Association of State Boards of Education, in conjunction with the National Student/Parent Mock Election, for its work in civic and voter education! Thanks to an incredible number of student and teacher participants on the LFI developed Florida Student Mock Election site, as well as the work done in civic education and teacher professional development by the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, a partnership between the Lou Frey Institute of UCF and the Bob Graham Center at UF, the NASBE, in conjunction with the NSPME, has awarded the Lou Frey Institute with its Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education award. The Institute is excited for this recognition, and looks forward to continuing its work through a new partnership with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections as well as continued outreach to Florida teachers, students, and other civic stakeholders. For more on the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government, visit the site at http://loufreyinstitute.org/ and join our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LouFreyInstitute. Of course, you can continue to get updates about Lou Frey Institute events and activities through the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship’s Facebook page as well, or follow us on Twitter @socialstudymasy!
Last week, we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Constitution Day here at UCF. For our celebration of the day, the Lou Frey Institute organized a panel of politicians and professors to discuss civil rights, the Constitution, and the importance of both perspective and collaboration in ‘getting things done’. The session was opened, as always, by former Representative Lou Frey (R-FL), founder of the eponymous Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government.
Happily, appreciation for the Constitution and the discussion around it was evident by the size of the crowd. It was a full house, and engagement among the college students, high school students, and community members was strong.
Following Rep. Frey’s remarks, Ambassador William Hughes (D-NJ; Ambassador to Panama, 1995-1998) and Representative Pete Torkildsen (R-MA) spoke about the importance of collaboration and compromise in the crafting of the Constitution and the passage of the Civil Rights Act under Johnson. Indeed, both spoke upon the relationship building necessary for true civic action to occur.
Following the remarks from the politicians, the conversation transitioned into a panel discussion featuring Rep. Torkildsen, Amb. Hughes, and two wonderful UCF Legal Studies professors, Dr. Cynthia Schmidt and Dr. James Beckman. Of course, Lou had a word or two to add as well!
Perhaps the highlight of the morning involved one of our very own UCF students, Esther Mezhibovsky. Esther is an undergraduate at UCF, and she shared with the audience her award winning essay on the importance of civic education and civic engagement in achieving social reform and civic tolerance.
It was, ultimately, a successful event, and based on the great questions asked by the audience, one which illustrated for us the great interest and passion citizens still have for our wonderful Constitution. And all attendees did leave with a parting gift:
Kudos to the staff of the Lou Frey Institute, especially Laura Stephenson and Marcia Bexley, for organizing it and to our politicians and professors for participating! How was YOUR Constitution Day? 🙂
On Wednesday, September 10th and Thursday, September 11th, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship and the Lou Frey Institute will be kicking off a new effort to consider the question of effective civic education in Florida. We are excited to host a number of civics education colleagues, district specialists, FLDOE leaders, university faculty, and researchers from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, out of Tufts University in Massachusetts. This partnership collaborative is intended to engage in ongoing discussion and research relating to what does and does not work in civic education in Florida. Ultimately, our desire is to study and use the district and state level data to better inform professional development and teacher planning. We look forward to sharing what we learn with the broader civics education community in Florida and beyond! For more information, feel free to email Steve Masyada at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Association of Former Members of Congress. As a reminder, the Frey Institute pays for and provides charter buses that seat 55 people to transport you, your students and chaperones to UCF as well as provides lunch for everyone. The charter buses are scheduled to arrive at UCF 15 minutes prior to the start of the events.
Are you interested in data on the civic health of Florida today? Do you want to be able to compare the health of Florida to other states? Then you should visit the new Florida Civic Health website! This has gone live today, and we encourage you to check it out! While it is not technically an FJCC effort, it IS an outgrowth of one of our parent organizations, the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government. What kind of data can you find at the new Florida Civic Health website?
- a snapshot of overall Florida civic health
- civic trends in Florida and nationally
- state to state comparisons
- and so much more!
Explore the site at your leisure. Just please be aware that as a new site, it needs some polish and our colleagues over at the Lou Frey Institute will be improving the landing page to give a better overview of the site. Navigate using the menu at the top of the page, and explore the civic health of Florida!