The Florida Bar
Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education
News and Events
Complimentary Benchmarks seminar offered at Winter Meeting
Dozens of Floridians are applying to serve on the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years and will be able to put amendments directly on the ballot for voters to consider in 2018. Some of those proposals could affect the judiciary. At a complimentary seminar at The Florida Bar Winter Meeting in Orlando, attendees will learn about the Constitution Revision Commission in the presentation “Every 20 Years.” “Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education” will be held on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Miami Room 3. The seminar (course number 1608936N) is at the intermediate level and offers 2 General credits and .5 Ethics credits. To register: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 561-5669.
Watch Every 20 Years webinar
A webinar about the Benchmarks presentation “Every 20 Years” was recorded in cooperation with the Young Lawyers Division. Annette Pitts, executive director of The Florida Law Related Education Association, explains both the Benchmarks program and the presentation designed to educate the public about the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years. Those who watch the webinar are considered trained for presenting Benchmarks activities.
New Benchmarks activity focuses on upcoming Constitution Revision Commission
Every 20 Years – Florida's Constitution Revision Commission is a new Benchmarks presentation that highlights the processes for amending the Florida Constitution while focusing specifically on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and how the public can be involved. In Florida, every 20 years a Constitution Revision Commission is appointed to hold hearings and consider issues of public concern and then propose amendments to the Florida Constitution. The upcoming CRC will propose amendments for the 2018 ballot. The CRC in 1998 put nine amendments on the ballot. Voters adopted eight of them.
Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project
The Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project of the National Association of Women Judges focuses on increasing the knowledge of citizens regarding the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary. Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente serves as state coordinating committee co-chairperson for the initiative.
Learn more about the Informed Voters Project and download materials for presentations.
Benchmarks speakers may request up to 50 copies of the Constitution Pamphlet, which also contains the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Send requests to email@example.com or call (850) 561-5834.
Benchmark Activities: Overview
We're glad you want to make Benchmarks presentations! This Benchmarks Toolkit will help you get started!
Attorneys who become trained in Benchmarks — by attending a seminar — are eligible to earn CLE credits. Sign up with the Speakers Bureau to learn about presentation opportunities. To order free Constitution pamphlets for your presentation, call (850) 561-5834.
Tools included are:
- "Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education" offers attorneys activities they can use when they are invited to speak to adult civic and community groups. Increasing public awareness of how the government and courts work is a critical mission for The Florida Bar. An informed public is the best defense of the rule of law and a fair and impartial judiciary. Benchmarks activities are available online, grouped in three categories:
Constitution and the Bill of Rights
Activities in this category examine methods of amending Florida's Constitution and the limited role the courts have in that process; the method by which a judge would weigh a law whose constitutionality is being challenged; the rights included in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and an exploration of the courts and the Constitution through a case study.
Courts and the Judicial Branch
Benchmark activities in this category include how judges approach making their rulings and the factors they must consider; how judges are elected in Florida and how Florida's merit selection/retention process works; and the role of juries.
Benchmark activities in this category include a primer on the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission and how citizens can become involved; testing participants' basic knowledge about the structure and function of the government; as well as an examination of voting practices historically and currently in the United States.
Request a Speaker or Become a Speaker
|To request a speaker for your group, please fill out the online request form. |
Attorneys can become Benchmarks speakers by attending a Benchmarks training, which are held locally by voluntary bar associations as well as at Florida Bar meetings. When training is completed, sign up with The Florida Bar Speakers Bureau. Presenters can earn one ethics credit hour for each presentation for up to three presentations in a three-year reporting period. Questions, please email: Slyle@flabar.org. Form to apply for credit.
Evaluation of Presentation
Thank you for participating in a Benchmarks seminar. Please fill out the evaluation form and give it to the seminar coordinator or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.