A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization since 1983, Classroom Law Project has emerged as Oregon’s leader in preparing youth to become active, engaged and informed participants in democratic society. We offer innovative programs that are relevant to the diverse needs of Oregon’s regions and communities. Over the past 25 years, we have built an energetic and cost-effective non-profit organization that unitizes the power of an experienced staff and a large group of committed volunteers to reach hundreds of teachers and schools and thousands of students each year.
Click here to download CLP’s “In A Nutshell”, an overview of our many programs.
Data collected in Classroom Law Project’s Oregon Civics Survey (2006) mirrors disturbing trends found nationally. The bad news: young people’s knowledge and interest in politics and government is low, particularly at the local level. These surveys show that only 25% of high school students can name Oregon’s two U.S. Senators and 23% think Ted Kulongoski is one of them. This disengagement is heightened by the belief of many young people that individual votes do not matter or are “thrown away.”
Oregon’s legislative system of initiatives and referendums creates an environment in which every citizen exercises legislative function. The many times that citizens are asked to amend Oregon’s Constitution and statutes requires that they have an even greater awareness of civics than elsewhere in the country. It is especially crucial that Oregonians be well-informed, take the time to research the information required to make reasoned, thoughtful, and independent decisions, and put aside their personal interests to ask, “Is it best for Oregon?”
Our school systems need help in providing civics education, so CLP works with teachers and school administrators to create integrated curriculum that meets their needs. And this isn’t just about learning history or how the courts work — CLP’s innovative programs can be used to help young people to develop positive attitudes about authority, justice, and the rule of law; to prepare students to think about the common good; and to take action to express their commitment through voting, volunteerism and petitioning the government for change.
Classroom Law Project has accomplished much in our first 25 years, but much, much more remains to be done. Our programs reach some 400 teachers and 12,000 students in Oregon. That is a good thing. But there are 198 school districts and 20 education service districts in our state, educating more than 551,000 students. That means we are meeting just 2 percent of Oregon’s need for our programs and services. That is both a humbling and motivating number. As we begin our next 25 years, Classroom Law Project is committed to the teaching and understanding of civics and democracy in our schools — with your help, we will go forward teacher by teacher, student by student, and generous supporter by generous supporter.