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PR teacher Dan Korn selected for Bill of Rights Founders Fellowship 2015

Korn questioning the “Founders” in his role as a newspaperman.

This past July the Bill of Rights Institute partnered with 44 of the nation's most innovative educators, including PR's Social Studies teacher Dan Korn for a week-long program of discussion, debate, and training in Washington, D.C. The teachers were required to have completed selected readings in preparation for the program entitled Liberty, Patriotism, and Security.

Each day was filled with intensive sessions with constitutional scholars and various hands-on exercises. In one exercise teachers participated in an interactive activity on George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion to learn techniques to help students understand the problems faced by America's Founders. Part of the exercise was a newscast in which Korn played a news reporter interviewing and questioning the teachers who were playing specific roles as Founders as they answered questions related to the origin of America's government and on weighing constitutional rights of journalists versus duties of citizenship.

Teachers spent time brushing up on the history of Congress and its power to declare war and also held lively discussions on liberty and security in the modern era. Each afternoon a breakout group session was held discussing the importance of safety while maintaining liberty and other topics such as discussing the constitutional role of Congress in declaring war.

A focus of the program was to help teachers learn to see both sides in the liberty vs. security debate and be able to help students have fruitful discussions on civil liberties. The participants learned techniques to bring to the classroom and inspire students about the Founders' vision for America, while observing civil discourse even though not everyone agrees on the discussion topic. A good deal of discussion included recent Supreme Court rulings involving the Patriot Act, as well other timely subjects, such as the Alien & Sedition Acts of the John Adams administration.  

Highlights to the week’s instruction included dinner at the famous Alexandria’s Gadsby's Tavern, which has been in operation since 1770 and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.

The teachers also were taken on tours to various sites around Washington D.C., including the National Archives, Korn’s favorite!  Other tours on the trip were the Newseum, the U.S. District Courthouse, at which they participated in a mock trial presentation with the administrative judge of the 4th Judicial District, and an evening tour of the monuments on the National Mall. 

Written by: Dan Korn, Social Studies Teacher
Posted: Sep 01, 2015 by Regina Snelson

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