At Street Law, we strive to adhere to multiple standards of quality when we create teaching resources.
Many Street Law resources provide information meant to help young people learn about government, civics, and the law. Our partners, stakeholders, and volunteers offer specific expertise in some of the areas Street Law resources explore. Once a resource has been developed and cleared a thorough internal review process, Street Law usually secures at least one expert in the field to provide feedback.
For example, when developing a new chapter on environmental law for the 10th edition of Street Law: A Course in Practical Law, we relied on the expert guidance and review of Amanda Cohen Leiter, professor of law, director of the Program on Environmental and Energy Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, and a member of Street Law’s Leadership Circle. Donny Zwisler, a friend of Street Law, is a federal firearms license dealer, firearms instructor, and competitive shooter who often provides specific fact-checking and clarification for Street Law when we create materials related to guns. Donny has reviewed Street Law’s two deliberations on guns.
The “Lived Civics” Approach
In 2018, Cathy Cohen, Joseph Kahne, and Jessica Marshall wrote “Let’s Go There: Making a Case for Race, Ethnicity and a Lived Civics Approach to Civic Education.” Since its publication, Street Law staff have considered the ways in which “Lived Civics” intersect with our work. The curriculum development team aims to “explicitly address race and identity” and “center the lived experiences and expertise of youth in many of our materials.”
For example, the team has recently updated a lesson introducing young people to criminal law. “Lived Civics” updates to this lesson included questions asking about power and agency in the legislative process and questions and talking points about identity as it relates to the creation of criminal law. In the lesson students are asked to consider who gets to decide what counts as a crime, whether that is fair, and how it might be changed if they believe it is unfair.
Some Street Law resources seek to provide balanced arguments from multiple perspectives. These perspectives may be political, or they may relate to a person’s lived experience. Street Law regularly works with a diverse group of partners, stakeholders, and friends who analyze our materials and provide feedback based on these perspectives. We do not expect one person to speak for an entire perspective or experience, but we do know that materials informed by multiple perspectives help to ensure high quality.
Street Law has worked in more than 40 countries. When working outside the United States, we partner with local organizations and experts to ensure our materials not only reflect local laws but are culturally appropriate for each country.
For example, in Jordan we partnered with a Jordanian human rights organization and convened an expert group of legal professionals, educators, and public safety experts to adapt our Rule of Law Matters curriculum for use in that country. In Ukraine we partnered with one of the country’s leading civic education NGOs and brought together educators from different regions of the country to develop deliberation materials on contested public policy issues.
Today is Informed by Yesterday
The current realities and systems of government and law do not exist without the past. Similarly, our experiences with government and law are often connected to our identities and the histories that our identity groups might have with government. Street Law strives to provide resources and historical background information to inform our lessons.
One of Street Law’s organizational values is to continuously improve the work that we do. We welcome all feedback on our materials. If you have feedback, please reach out to us at [email protected].