A Legendary Justice Embraces Modern Times

June 30, 2008 1 min read

Young people’s understanding of government (or lack thereof) has become a prime target of late-night television comics and political parody. That bothers Sandra Day O’Connor, who has spent much of her time since her retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court promoting civic education.

Justice O’Connor, 78, who stepped down from the high court in 2006 after 24 years, has been touring the country to make a pitch for a greater focus on civic education in schools.

According to the online industry news site Silicon Alley, she is heading up a video-game project to help teach middle school students about the judicial system.

The free, interactive Web site is expected to go live next year, including a virtual 3D world, but it already features background and descriptive info about the branches of government and the structure of the court system.

Teachers and curriculum specialists are helping to craft the content.

“The evidence is clear, and should be profoundly disturbing,” Justice O’Connor says in a video address to users of the site. “In this country, we are failing to teach today’s students some of the information they need to be responsible citizens.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.