Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed July 18, 1997
Contact: Mark Nickel

Application deadline Sept. 15

Connecticut high school students to deliberate on U.S. role in the world

The first Connecticut Capitol Forum on America's Future will bring students and teachers to the state house next spring to discuss immigration, the environment, global conflict, and international trade. Twenty teachers will be selected for the program. Review of applications will begin Aug. 1, 1997.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Students and teachers from 20 Connecticut high schools are about to embark on an extended public affairs discussion that will lead them to the state capitol next spring.

The first Connecticut Capitol Forum on America's Future, April 3, 1998, in Hartford, will bring together 20 teachers and 80 students from across the state to discuss immigration, the environment, global conflict, international trade and other issues facing the nation. These student representatives will report on concerns expressed during classroom discussions and will explore a range of viewpoints on the role of the U.S. in the international community. State and national experts and policy makers will be on hand to hear and respond. Following the forum, participating classes will complete the Connecticut Student Ballot on America's Future, and the results will be shared with public officials, the media, and all Connecticut high schools.

Social studies teachers at Connecticut high schools are invited to apply. Review of applications and notification to selected teachers begins Aug. 1; no applications will be accepted after Sept. 15. Teachers will also attend two preparatory workshops (Oct. 8, 1997, and Feb. 26, 1998). For more information or an application, contact the Choices Education Project, Box 1948, Brown University, Providence RI 02912, (401) 863-3155, or visit the Choices website at

The Capitol Forum on America's Future is being organized by the Office of Connecticut Secretary of the State Miles S. Rapoport and Brown University's Choices for the 21st Century Education Project. Co-sponsors of the forum include the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies, the League of Women Voters of Connecticut and the Institute of Public Service at the University of Connecticut.

"This exciting new program will engage students in a meaningful and important discussion of America's role in a rapidly changing world and will provide them with an opportunity to bring their views to public policy decision makers," Rapoport said.

Rapoport said the new program is part of his office's Project Democracy, a statewide partnership designed to increase civic participation and citizenship in Connecticut. Project Democracy includes civic education programs, publications and conferences, many in partnership with other state agencies, local educational institutions, and the private sector.

The Choices Education Project is a program of Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. The project seeks to engage the public - students and adults - in consideration of international issues and to enhance the quality of civic life. Choices creates classroom materials on current international issues and key decision points in history. Topics include the post-World War II debate on the U.S. international role, U.S. environmental policy in an international context, and U.S. policy toward modern-day China. Each year, Choices teaching associates, a nationwide network of high school teachers, offer professional development workshops for fellow teachers interested in the Choices approach, a teaching method that engages students in exploration of the risks, tradeoffs, and conflicting values of divergent policy alternatives. Choices curricula are used annually in more than 4,200 schools with 700,000 students.

Choices Public Programs provide materials and organizational support to community groups wishing to hold public policy discussions. The program was first developed in Connecticut, with the support of the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Southern Connecticut Library Council, and has spread to 14 states. In 1998, the Choices discussion series will be held in more than 175 public libraries, including 12 Connecticut libraries.

"We're looking forward to seeing and hearing the ideas and impressions of Connecticut high school students and to their vision of the path America should take as we approach the new century," said Choices Director Susan Graseck. "This is a dynamic partnership, and one which will truly benefit the students, teachers and public officials who will take part next year."