Street Law Releases New Rule of Law Curriculum 

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Rule of Law for All

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Street Law is excited to announce the release of its Rule of Law for All curriculum. This set of seven core lessons plus a culminating activity is ideal for middle and high school social studies courses ranging from U.S. history to civics and law to global studies. The curriculum was developed by Street Law’s expert staff, reviewed by outside consultants, and field tested by a group of pilot teachers from across the U.S.

Rule of law is a founding principle of the United States and a pillar of democracy. It ensures that no one is above the law, that laws are publicly and widely known, that laws apply equally to all and are equally enforced, and that disputes are settled by an independent judiciary. However, this textbook definition is in contrast with many Americans’ lived experiences. For some people in the United States, particularly the most marginalized, rule of law has always been in crisis.

Rule of Law for All was designed to provide young people with opportunities to process the disparities they observe between rule of law in theory and rule of law in their lived experiences and to find ways to constructively engage in improving rule of law.

“Rule of law education has long been a key component of Street Law’s international programs, and it was important to us to develop a comprehensive curriculum that would bring this bedrock topic into American classrooms too,” said Street Law Sr. Director Jen Wheeler, who is overseeing the project. “Schools are a great grassroots opportunity to teach about rule of law, what makes it so valuable, and what role we play as ordinary people.”

Like all Street Law resources, these materials have been designed to prioritize student-centered pedagogy, where much of the cognitive load of the lesson is on students. The lessons place rule of law concepts in the context of students’ lived experiences and identities, along with the lived experiences and identities of others.  

By participating in these lessons, students should be able to:

  • increase their understanding of rule of law concepts and their relation to the health of U.S. democracy,
  • analyze strengths and weaknesses of rule of law in the United States,
  • describe how rule of law may be experienced differently by individuals from different backgrounds, and
  • improve civic skills and attitudes. 

The free lessons are available in Street Law’s Resource Library.  

Teachers are invited to participate in a nationwide Rule of Law for All Teach-in on Friday, September 16th (Constitution Day observed) by teaching a lesson from the new curriculum or participating in one of Street Law’s live virtual events.     

Rule of Law for All was developed with the support of the 2021 Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. 

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