Where Law and Medicine Merge
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Maria Diamond and Judy Massong
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Civic Learning Initiative to bolster civic
learning for Washington state students.
Founded in 1997, the CPLE was created
to promote public understanding of the
law and civic rights and responsibilities.
Today, the CPLE pursues this mission by
conducting, coordinating, encouraging,
and publicizing public legal education
efforts in Washington state.
The CPLE will be convening two civics summits in 2017, the first in January
in Olympia and the second in Seattle
in October. The Civic Learning Initiative is the result of a strong coalition
of leaders who believe in the value of
bringing high quality civic education
to our youth. The co-sponsors are Chief
Justice Barbara Madsen of the Washington Supreme Court, United States
District Court’s Chief Judge Ricardo
Martinez, Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Secretary
of State Kim Wyman, Superintendent
of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, the
CPLE chaired by Judge Marlin Ap-pelwick and former Superintendent of
Public Instruction Judith Billings, and
Initiative Lead Margaret Fisher.
This coming January, the first Civics Summit will include educators and
legislators and focus on what civic
learning means in the 21st century, and
identifying civic learning obstacles
and solutions to accomplish goals. The
following October, the second Civics
Summit will be joined by U.S. Supreme
Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who
will have a chance to interact with
existing high-quality civic learning
programs. This may include programs
such as Youth Court, Street Law, iCiv-ics, We the People, Capitol Classroom,
Storypath, and Mock Trial.
The summits will move forward the
Initiative’s goal of establishing a public-private partnership to further professional development of teachers and af-ter-school youth development workers.
Members of the Bar have an inherent,
multifaceted self-interest in supporting the mission to provide our students
with a robust civic education. Our government and communities benefit from
constituents who understand how to effect change, who can communicate effectively and efficiently within our various
government institutions, and who can
identify various avenues for resolving
grievances — all elements that contribute