Democracy Education Exchange Program
The Democracy Education Exchange Program (DEEP) was an international educational exchange program that was funded through a grant from the United States Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. DEEP was administered in 2002 by a consortium of U.S. non-profit organizations of which CRFC is a member.
DEEP connected educators and policy makers from the United States to work with their counterparts from Central and Eastern European countries and Newly Independent States of the former Republics of the Soviet Union to promote civics and government education. The twelve countries that participated in this project were: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. At a conference in Budapest, Hungary, three countries were matched with each of three project sites: Chicago; Boulder, Colorado; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C. CRFC was pleased to work with the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Uzbekistan.
The DEEP Exchange
Teams of ten from each of these countries came to the U.S. for approximately three weeks for professional development activities. Their first week was spent in Washington, D.C. with the Close Up Foundation as host and then each delegation traveled to their respective host sites for a ten-day institute focusing on development of quality civic education programs.
Joining the Czechs, Estonians, and Uzbeks for their institute with CRFC in Chicago were twenty-four local area teachers selected on a competitive basis to be a part of the DEEP project. These teachers are from the following schools: East and West Leyden High Schools; Mundelein High School; Elgin High School, Prairieview Elementary School, Willard Elementary School and Sheridan Elementary School (District U46); Barry Elementary School, Clemente High School, Amundsen High School and Lake View High School (Chicago Public Schools). Each of these schools hosted the European/Asian delegations for a full day of classroom observations, teaching, and discussions with students and faculty.
Following the visits to Chicago, a three-day summer institute was held from June 26-28, 2002 at Northwestern University for the local DEEP teachers to strengthen their civics instruction about these emerging democracies, and to share with one another their experiences and plans for the future.
In the fall, professional development workshops for the local DEEP teachers were held at the 2002 Illinois Statewide Law-Related Education Conference. A morning workshop, Trading Places: Democracy Exchanges With Central Eurasia, was held for local DEEP educators to share lesson plans they had developed during the DEEP program with each other and with interested teachers attending the conference. In the afternoon, the DEEP teachers gathered with consultants for an intensive workshop on curriculum development and program evaluation.
Country teams continued to work with their U.S. counterparts to implement plans to meet their democracy education needs and to prepare materials and strategies to promote them in both Central Eurasian, as well as American classrooms. Visits to the Czech Republic, Estonia and Uzbekistan throughout the year to allow Chicago-area educators the opportunity to work hands-on with their partners continued to strengthen the exchange.