Friday, February 26, 2010

The Patriot Act

Today, Congress will send a bill to extend parts of the controversial Patriot Act to Pres. Obama. Without passing the legislation, provisions of the Patriot Act will expire this Sunday.

Some say the Patriot Act provides the government with necessary tools for the fight against terrorism, both domestically and internationally. Others say the Patriot Act violates civil liberties.

This topic presents an excellent opportunity to instill the habits of active citizenship in your students. First, have your students get informed. You can have your students read more about this story here on our Constitution Newswire, and conduct additional research on the Patriot Act.

Then, have your students check out the bill for themselves. Reading the bill (in whole or in parts you pre-select) can also be used as a media literacy activity where students can see if what they are reading in the news is similar to what they find in the bill. You can search the bill and track the legislative process directly from our website at

Your students can then deliberate the issue in class, citing what they've learned about the legislation and the Constitution. For information on how to conduct a successful deliberation in your class, visit the newly redesigned Exchange website.

Finally, return to the Citizen's Help Desk to have your students write the president and their members of Congress to tell them what they think of the legislation and why.

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