2012 Professional Development Conference

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 8:30am
Audience Type: 
High School Teachers
Middle School Teachers

Democracy on Trial

Audience: High School Teachers, Middle School Teachers, Policy Makers, Researchers, General Public

Location: Hamburger University & The Hyatt Lodge
2715 Jorie Boulevard
Oak Brook, IL 60523

What challenges do Americans see in each other, their communities, and their government? Are these challenges unique to our time or are they inherent in the nature of democracy itself? From The Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, is our “Democracy on Trial”? The 2012 Illinois Law-Related Education conference addresses the tensions that define modern American life. It offers resources for the current 2012 election and enduring questions of American society. It is a place for Illinois educators to discuss how we can teach students about the promise and trials facing our Republic. 

The conference features dynamic workshops with nationally recognized presenters on legal and political issues, interactive teaching methods, and innovative materials for the classroom. This is an excellent opportunity to share experiences, best practices, teaching strategies, and curriculum with your colleagues; and join in a statewide conversation about the issues.


Betsy Sinclair, a political scientist from the University of Chicago and author of, The Social Citizen, will keynote the 2012 Illinois Law-related Education Conference. Her book, The Social Citizen, examines how our sociability shapes our behaviors as citizens. Using survey data as diverse as the wealthy suburbs in Illinois to the streets of South Los Angeles, she identifies the social influences that underlie a variety of political activities ranging from voter turnout to political contributions and the implications they have for the democratic process.

Workshops and Presenters

Why No One Should Vote (But Me)
What's the Big Deal? The 24th Amendment and the Voting Rights of the Poor
Nisan Chavkin, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago           

The Case of the Cyberbully: A Multimedia Mock Trial Experience
Privacy: It's a Right, Right?
Jessica Chethik, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago           

Catherine Hawke, American Bar Association Division for Public Education 

The Election Will Be Tweeted
Shawn Healy, McCormick Foundation Civics Program 

Legal Clinics for High Schools
Dennis Kass, Infinity Math, Science & Technology High School           

Moot Court: Miller v. Alabama
Kelly Pecak, Maine West High School

Defining Democracy
Kristy Poteete, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago           

Perry v. New Hampshire (Eyewitness I.D.)
Preview of 2012 SCOTUS Term

Steve Schwinn, The John Marshall Law School  

NFIB v. Sebelius: The Constitutional Challenge to the Affordable Care Act
Chris Schmidt & Carolyn Shapiro, Chicago-Kent College of Law    

Michael Scodro, Illinois Solicitor General

Which Strategy Would You Use? A Campaign Propaganda DBQ Civics Lesson
Laurel Singleton, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago

Protesting in Chicago
Ed Yohnka, American Civil Liberties Union

2012 Teachers of the Year

The 2012 Barbara J. O’Donnell and Edward J. Lewis Awards for Illinois Law-Related Education Teachers of the Year will be presented at the conference.  To learn more about these awards or to nominate a teacher, click here.

Register Now

Please note that registration fees are non-refundable.