Constitutional Institutes for Teachers


About the Program

This free professional development program is hosted by the American Bar Association for Chicago-area middle or high school teachers of law, history, government, social studies, and civics. The program will provide participants with a broader understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and how to develop inquiry-based lessons that focus on the Fourteenth Amendment for classroom use.

Free Public Webinars (Spring 2018)

The Exploring the Fourteenth Amendment webinar series is open to anyone interested in participating. Click on each webinar to register. Each program is free, and will be archived for later viewing.

January 16, 2018, 4:30-5:30 pm EST
Passing the Civil Rights Act
Presenter: Clay Risen

Join New York Times editor and Bill of the Century author Clay Risen in a discussion of the debates surrounding ratification of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Fourteenth Amendment figured heavily into Civil Rights arguments, so learn more about how it influenced lawmakers in Congress as they passed this landmark legislation.

View the archived webinar program (for ease of play, forward to 5:31)


Sex Equality & the Fourteenth Amendment
February 21, 2018
4:30-5:30 pm EST
Register Here

Presenter: Jill Hasday
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Centennial Professor in Law
University of Minnesota Law School

This program will look at the relationship between the Fourteenth Amendment and sex equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • How has the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on sex equality cases over time?
  • How did the Court initially respond to sex discrimination claims under the Equal Protection Clause?
  • How does the Equal Protection Clause work with laws that directly prohibit sex-based discrimination?  
  • What is the relationship between the Court’s sex-discrimination cases and discrimination based on sexual orientation? 

March 13, 2018, 4:30-5:30 pm EST
Citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment
Presenter: Martha Jones

Historian Martha Jones will lead a discussion from Johns Hopkins University examining how the Fourteenth Amendment transformed American citizenship and continues to affect our nation today. She has argued that the Amendment solved big problems, but created others, and if we ever hope to solve them, our nation needs another transformative moment.

In-person seminars (Fall 2017-Spring 2018)

The program will bring together a cohort of 20 teachers for in-person seminars that occur between October 2017 and March 2018. Participants will have an opportunity to engage with legal scholars, historians, and curriculum specialists as they develop lessons that align with Illinois’s new civics standards. 

Two one-day programs will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2017 and Saturday, February 10, 2018. Both programs will take place 8:00 am-3:00 pm at the American Bar Association headquarters, located at 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654. Applications for the in-person seminars are now closed.

Institute Faculty:

Expectations of Participants

Participants in the Constitutional Institutes for Teachers: The Fourteenth Amendment professional development program will be expected to:

  • Attend and participate in both in-person and online discussions.
  • Complete evaluations during the programs, including self-reflection on attitudes, learning, and practice; perceived student learning related to the Fourteenth Amendment; and participate in focus groups during the in-person programs; and
  • Develop and implement one inquiry-based lesson focused on the Fourteenth Amendment that aligns with the Illinois Social Studies Standards by the end of the program in March 2018.
  • Engage in the program with a spirit of respect, collegiality, and civility.

Participants grant permission to use their image, as it might appear in general photography of program events, for marketing and reporting purposes directly related to the program.