The Power of Democracy Steering Committee

Formed: July 2013
Charge: to implement the Chief Justice's civic education initiatives 
Chair: Hon. Judith D. McConnell, Administrative Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District


 

The formation of the Power of Democracy Steering Committee by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye consolidates two committees—the Leadership Group on Civic Education and Public Outreach (an implementation committee for the Commission for Impartial Courts) and the Civic Learning Summit Steering Committee.

The committee will guide and support related initiatives spearheaded by the Chief Justice, including the Civic Learning Awards for California Public Schools and the K–12 Civic Learning Task Force.

The committee will also develop and implement short- and long-term strategic plans that build on the momentum and partnerships created by the summit, including, but not limited to a communications plan and a clarification of partner roles and responsibilities. The steering committee reports to the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice appoints members of the steering committee for two-year terms.

The Judicial Council Operations and Programs Division staffs this steering committee.

The Chief Justice serves as the honorary chair and appoints a chair of the steering committee and members of the steering committee represented as follows:

Justice of the Court of Appeals involved in civics education and public information Hon. Judith D. McConnell, Chair
Administrative Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District

Judicial officer of the superior court involved in civics education and public information

Hon. Charles A. Smiley III
Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court
Superior Court of California, County of Alameda

Federal court representative Hon. Frank C. Damrell, Jr. (Ret.)
State Supreme Court representative

Ms. Alice V. Collins
Supervising Supreme Court Attorney
Supreme Court of California

California Secretary of State or their representative Hon. Alex Padilla
California Secretary of State

State Superintendent of Public Instruction representative

Mr. Jason Spencer  
Principal Advisor to the Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education

California Bar Foundation representative Ms. Sonia Gonzales
Executive Director
California Bar Foundation
 Law school representative Dr. Stephen C. Ferruolo
Dean and Professor of Law
University of San Diego, School of Law

County Superintendent of Schools/representative of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)

Mr. David W. Gordon
Superintendent of Schools
Sacramento County Office of Education

Civic education leader Dr. Michelle M. Herczog
Consultant, History-Social Science
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Student Representative

Ms. Laura Robles
George Washington Carver High School

The Civic Learning Award for California public elementary, middle, and high schools, co-sponsored by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, spotlights successful efforts to engage students in civic learning and identify models that can be replicated in other schools.

The awards are presented to California schools based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses or programs.

In its first year, 2013, an expert panel of judges carefully selected 22 schools for the award's inaugural presentation at the Civics Learning Summit. Three schools earned the Award of Excellence, the highest honor, and received a visit from Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye:

Five schools received Awards of Distinction, and fourteen schools received Awards of Merit. 

All recipients are presented the award at their school location by a member of the California bench. A list of all recipients is available here.

Funding for the Civic Learning Award program is generously provided by the California Bar Foundation. 

The California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning was appointed by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and is overseen by the Power of Democracy Steering Committee. 

The purpose of the Task Force is to bring definition to the skills, knowledge, and dispositions our students need to be informed and engaged citizens and community members. The Task Force will make recommendations for how we can achieve these outcomes for all students in California and will focus their recommendations in the following areas:

• curriculum and instructional practice
• resources
• professional learning for teachers and staff
• student testing
• school accountability and
• partnerships with the community and business

The task force will make recommendations to:

• Chief Justice of California
• State Superintendent of Public Instruction
• State Board of Education
• Chair of the Assembly Education Committee
• Chair of the Senate Education Committee
Task Force Timeline: July 2012—Summer 2014

More details about work of this task force is available on the State of California Dept of Education websiteFunding for the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning is generously provided by the California Bar Foundation.

2017 Civic Learning Summit 2.0

At a summit convened by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, justices, judges, educators, and students from around the state gathered to talk about the progress they’ve made in the last four years in advocating for civic education in California and to discuss next steps. The Summit, held Feb 14 in Sacramento, featured Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson. Learn more in the California Courts Newsroom

2013 Civic Learning California Summit: Making Democracy Work
Sacramento, CA
Feb 28, 2013

8:30–9:30a

Opening Remarks: Justice Judith D. McConnell, Administrative Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye  watch video


Secretary of State Debra Brown (pictured left)
 
9:55–10:15a

Civic Learning Awards
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

Student Address
Diana Ledezma
Student, Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy, Los Angeles
 watch video

10:15–11:05a

Panel Discussion: Why Civics?
Moderator: Justice Judith D. McConnell, Administrative Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District 

Panelists: Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court, Superior Court of Sacramento County (pictured left)
Thomas Saenz, President and CO, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) (Pictured left) Yvonne Walker, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 Allan Zaremberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Chamber of Commerce

11:05–11:15a Break
11:15–12:05a
A Conversation with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, United State Supreme Court (Ret.) in conversation with Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha (Ret.),
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law,
Pepperdine University School of Law

12:05–12:25p

Call to Action 
Hon. Joseph Dunn (Ret).
Chief Executive Officer, State Bar of California 

Hon. Joan Buchanan
California State Assembly

Hon. Leland Yee
California State Senate

Hon. Marty Block
California State Senate

Hon. Mark Wyland
California State Senate

12:25–12:30p

Closing
Justice Judith D. McConnell

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