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First Amendment SchoolsEducating for Freedom and Responsibility
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About the Project

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Our Mission

First Amendment Schools: Educating for Freedom and Responsibility is a national reform initiative designed to transform how schools teach and practice the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that frame civic life in our democracy.

Our Goals

To achieve its mission, the First Amendment Schools project has four primary goals:

  • Create consensus guidelines and guiding principles for all schools interested in creating and sustaining First Amendment principles in their school;
  • Establish schools in every region of the nation where First Amendment principles are understood and applied throughout the school community;
  • Encourage and develop curriculum reforms that reinvigorate and deepen teaching about the First Amendment across the curriculum; and
  • Educate school leaders, teachers, school board members and attorneys, and other key stakeholders about the meaning and significance of First Amendment principles and ideals.
Our Network

Now in its fifth year, the FAS Network consists of nearly 100 schools—K-12—and includes over 70,000 students. This Network includes public, private, and charter schools that serve urban, suburban, and rural communities, reflecting the demographic, cultural, and economic diversity of our nation.

Currently, the FAS Network is accepting applications for its Affiliate Schools program.

Affiliate Schools

The Affiliate Program is the entryway into the work of becoming a First Amendment School. Affiliates commit to the guiding principles of the FAS Project, receive materials and resources on democratic freedom and whole school reform, and are eligible for small grants to support best practices for implementing First Amendment School principles.

Affiliate School applications, submitted by the principal and two additional members of the school community, are welcome throughout the year.  

Core Civic Habits Practiced in First Amendment Schools

As a result of four years of input and guidance from the schools in our network, the First Amendment Schools project has published a new resource for educators, Core Civic Habits Practiced in First Amendment Schools. The purpose of this document is both to define a set of “civic habits” that teachers, parents, students, and administrators can all strive to embody and share, and also to provide a behavioral check list for educators to use in ensuring that future FAS action plans, curricular units, and school improvement strategies directly reinforce the central principles of democratic citizenship.

We believe this list will provide both a useful evaluative tool for teachers and administrators and a clear description of what an ideal member of any school community – be they a student, teacher, parent, or administrator – looks and acts like.

Download the Civic Habits Resource.

For more information about the First Amendment Schools project, please contact ASCD’s Molly McCloskey.


Last updated: Monday, October 22, 2018 | 16:19:16