Trey Apffel 2015-01-25 20:53:37
Kind ling the Spirit of Liberty “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” —Judge Learned Hand, 1944 “All I can say about it is AWESOME!!!” That’s an actual line in an email I received from a high school history teacher who attended the Hatton W. Sumners Institutes on the Founding Documents Academy last July at Aldine Independent School District in Houston. And the praise didn’t stop there. “The friendly professionalism of all who brought this academy to Aldine is above reproach,” he wrote. “The friendly, can-do attitude is so refreshing. As an educator … much of the information I received over the five-day academy will prove useful in the classroom. Not only do the students benefit, so do I. The deeper the knowledge base, the more competent I become, the more I can offer/challenge the students.” The teacher’s email was very encouraging, but hardly unique. The State Bar of Texas Law-Related Education Department, which puts on the academy, is one of the most loved arms of the bar. But at the same time, for a large portion of our membership, it’s also among the least known. A bar leader once told me that he thought Law-Related Education, or LRE, was one of our best-kept secrets. I don’t want it to be, and as president, I have been doing my part to spread the word. Headed by Jan Miller, the LRE Department advances law-related and civics education programs throughout Texas, using curriculum development and educator training. Its mission is to plan, promote, and support programs that prepare elementary, middle, and high school students for “effective, responsible citizenship” and instill a commitment to liberty, justice, and the rule of law. These virtues were on display Jan. 30-31 in Austin as LRE held its annual conference at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. The 2015 Law-Related Education Conference focused on the journey to achieve civil rights, including key legislation, people, and events. Through symposia like these as well as visits to schools across Texas, LRE is making a major impact in educating our youth. The LRE mission statement is in line with my efforts to promote the profession so that the public understands our role in preserving liberty for all in our nation. That’s why, every time I give an address as president, I highlight our law-related education projects, including Lisa M. Tatum’s I was the first. Vote for Me! and Bob Black’s Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Don’t miss out on what LRE is doing to promote civics and lawrelated education in Texas. Follow LRE on Facebook (facebook.com/texaslre) and Twitter (twitter.com/Texas_LRE) and visit texaslre.org to keep up to date. Rest assured, the State Bar of Texas is doing its part to ensure that the importance of liberty is emphasized to our youth just the same as reading, writing, and arithmetic.
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