Joe Foss Institute

Civics Challenged!

by JoeFossInstitute on November 24, 2014

Can you do better than the students below? Three out of every four 12th graders are unable to name a power of Congress granted to them by the Constitution. Get involved and support the Joe Foss Institute and our affiliate, the Civics Education Initiative. Simple in concept, the Civics Education Initiative requires High School students, as a condition for graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics taken from the United States CitiCivics Challengedzenship Civics Test – the test all immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship must pass.

JFI Is Proud To Welcome Jay Leno

by JoeFossInstitute on November 20, 2014

Famed comedian and Tonight Show host Jay Leno will be the featured entertainment and Lifetime Achievement honoree for the 2015 Stars in Service benefiting the Joe Foss Institute and our affiliate, the Civics Education Initiative. See Jay’s latest surprise JFI-Stars-in-Service-2015for one our country’s veterans.

You Made It Happen!

by JoeFossInstitute on November 18, 2014

Our VIP presenters have been busy. During the time leading up to and including the week of Veterans Day, JFI served more than B2K0NU2IUAABZBl84,000 students nationwide. Thank you to our Veteran presenters and supporters. You made it happen for these kids! 


Civics Education Initiative

by JoeFossInstitute on October 17, 2014

The Civics Education Initiative (CEI), an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute, was recently announced and met with rave reviews. The CEI would require high students, as a condition for graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics from the United States Citizenship Civics Test – the test all new U.S. citizens must pass. Announced September 2012, the legislation is currentlyunderway in six states. For more information, visit



Teachers – Suggested Readings and Activities

by JoeFossInstitute on July 31, 2014

Next August, a landmark piece of legislation turns 50. The Voting Act of 1965, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits racial discrimination in voting. This month’s installment of the National Constitution Center’s Civics in Literature initiative features suggested readings and activities designed to teach students about the struggles faced by African Americans and women in particular to earn the right to become active participants in American democracy.

Featured Book

Granddaddy-s-Gift-Granddaddy’s Gift by Margaree King Mitchell

In this book, students learn about Little Joe and her granddaddy, who lived in a small town in Mississippi during segregation. Granddaddy, through his courage and pride, became the first black man to register to vote in his town. Through his actions, he taught his granddaughter about the importance, determination and self-respect.

Featured Activity

Little Joe asked her granddaddy why she had to go to school. Granddaddy responded, “I want you to learn as much as you can so when you grow up you can choose what you want to do.” If you had to choose today what career to pursue when you grow up, what would you choose to do? Why was education so important to Little Joe’s granddaddy?

Download the full lesson here!

Check back for more lessons and activities.

Thanks to our friends at the National Constitution Center.

Afghan vet receives Medal of Honor

July 22, 2014

Ryan M. Pitts, a former Army staff sergeant from New Hampshire, is the ninth living veteran of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the nation’s highest honor for battlefield valor. Pitt’s mission that day in June 2008 was to be his last before returning home from his second tour of Afghanistan. For the […]

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Liberty Bell Fascinating Facts

July 9, 2014

On July 8, 1776, popular legend says the Liberty Bell rang to symbolize America’s independence from Great Britain. But many “facts” about the Bell, such as the 1776 ringing,  are shrouded in mystery. For example, how did the Liberty Bell get its famous crack? Did it really ring on July 4, 1776? And where was […]

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