The president of the United States must be a “natural born Citizen,” under the U.S. Constitution. Should the requirement that the president be born in the United States be kept or removed? That question is the subject of the Citizenship Challenge essay contest for 4th and 5th grade students in the greater Pittsburgh area, which was announced last week by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.
“There’s never been a better time — or a greater need — to reinforce the value of civics education and enable opportunities for civic engagement among the next generation of voters,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell said in a statement. “After five successful years in Philadelphia, we wanted to bring this challenge to Pittsburgh-area schools.”
The former governor and Marjorie O. Rendell, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, are the co-founders of the Rendell Center, which is based at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Both institutions are dedicated to improving the quality of civics education in the nation.
The essay competition, which has a Nov. 9 deadline, is open to 4th and 5th grade students in public, private, parochial, or home-study programs. Students and classes are asked to submit an essay of at least 300 words addressing the question. The winning school will receive $1,000 to be used toward a program that promotes civic learning and engagement in the student body. For more details, contact the Rendell Center.
The Citizenship Challenge in Pittsburgh is a partnership between the Rendell Center and the Senator John Heinz History Center. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the media sponsor.
The Rendell Center will announce a separate Citizenship Challenge essay competition for students and classes in the Philadelphia region.
In addition to the Citizenship Challenge essay competition, the Rendell Center’s signature initiatives include We the Civics Kids, a classroom program for elementary school students, and the Constitutional Scholars Summer Institute, a professional development program for classroom teachers.