For Passion Civics Teacher, a 200-Year-Old Document Is the Key to Nuancing Today’s Politics

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Photo courtesy of Jon Resendez

At a James Madison Memorial Meeting, social studies department chair Jon Resendez speaks with the fellowship’s Board of Trustees. Resendez offers his thoughts about Constitutional teaching in American schools and discusses the possibilities of a new Constitutional Convention for the organization.

As a Passion Civics teacher who holds the mantle of educating the next generation of citizens, social studies department chair Jon Resendez must wrestle with the Constitution daily. To supplement his efforts guiding students through the Constitution in the classroom and connecting with a nationwide network of teachers passionate about teaching civics, Resendez joined the National Constitution Center’s Teacher Advisory Council.

His participation in this initiative is only one of his efforts to become better acquainted with foundations in civic education. In fact, Resendez stumbled upon the opportunity after attending a lecture at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. as a recipient of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship, given by CEO of the National Constitution Center Dr. Jeffrey Rosen. 

Soon after, Resendez saw a Twitter post for the advisory council, and he knew it was a sign to seize the opportunity. 

When I became a teacher 13 years ago, I always committed to the quality of constitutional education, so I’ve done things throughout my career that have supported that.”

— Jon Resendez

“I don’t feel like our politics right now is sophisticated enough. I don’t think Americans spend enough time thinking about it or reading about it or learning about it,” Resendez said. “When I became a teacher 13 years ago, I always committed to the quality of constitutional education, so I’ve done things throughout my career that have supported that.”

Resendez works with the teachers within his subgroup in the council to develop strategies for integrating the organization’s resources to support students in a classroom setting. The Center offers Resendez the opportunity to engage his classes in scholar exchanges, in which Constitutional scholars interact with students virtually to kickstart college-level discussions on tensions and questions associated with one of America’s foundational texts.

“Mr. Resendez seems like a very passionate educator, and anyone who’s willing to give up some of their free time to try to promote and push civic education deserves kudos,” teacher group leader and social studies teacher Nick Hegge said. “They’ve given up their personal time on Tuesday, Wednesday, whatever night to have these conversations and dialogues, and it’s a really cool thing for passionate educators to be able to meet and bounce ideas off each other.”

I wanted you to be able to find truth, speak truth and do truth, and in the United States, doing things like this are my way of helping, not just my students, but students across the country do that better.”

— Jon Resendez

In the future, some ways that Resendez hopes to incorporate his takeaways from the council into his classroom include integrating the National Constitution Center’s app and website, which contain articles and resources that bring in interpretations and annotations of the Constitution.

“I wanted you to be able to find truth, speak truth and do truth, and in the United States, doing things like this are my way of helping, not just my students, but students across the country do that better,” Resendez said. “I hope that we see a future where our political system works more effectively. Where our citizens hold politicians accountable for what they say, and most importantly, what they do.”