Rare Copy of Declaration of Independence to Visit Six Cities
01 June 2009
Schools Recognized for Mock Election Participation and Fostering Principles of Democracy
Tucson, AZ - June 1 - America’s birth certificate – a rare, original copy of the Declaration of Independence printed July 4, 1776 – will visit six cities across the country to honor exemplary schools participating in the National Student/Parent Mock Election last fall.
Winning schools recognized for the impressive scope of their campaigns, selected from among the thousands that participated, include Andrew Carnegie Middle School (Carson, CA); Curie Metropolitan High School (Chicago); the Dade County School system (FL); Austin Independent School District (TX); the schools in the state of New Jersey; and the schools in the state of Arizona. Each winner will have the chance to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime visit and provide citizens of all ages the opportunity to view this historic document.
This first-of-its-kind collaboration tour is made possible through a partnership of the National Student/Parent Mock Election, the Pearson Foundation, and the non-profit youth voter registration organization Declare Yourself. The Declaration of Independence copy is owned by Norman Lear, founder of Declare Yourself, and the national tour is being underwritten by the Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the education and technology company Pearson.
Marc Morgenstern, Executive Director of Declare Yourself, said, “Norman Lear purchased this original copy of the Declaration of Independence with the goal of bringing ‘the people’s document’ directly to the people all across the country. This tour represents exactly the kind of partnering that is helping us realize the vision that Mr. Lear had for sharing this unique part of America’s history.”
“Only a tiny percentage of our school children are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get to Washington, DC to see the Declaration of Independence, so we are honored to be able to bring this important piece of our country’s history to so many more students and adults," said Mark Nieker, President of the Pearson Foundation. "As educators, we value the opportunity to participate in this tremendous initiative, and hope to be able to expand these visits to more locations in the future.”
Gloria Kirshner, President of the National Student/Parent Mock Election, noted that more than five million ballots were cast in the National Student/Parent Mock Election, the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter education project. The winning schools demonstrated a high level of participation and a strong commitment to educating students about the democratic process.
She said, “What better way is there to celebrate the power and importance of each individual vote than to actually view one of the documents that helped to create our system of government? This great tour is a terrific way to remind students throughout the U.S. of the importance of participation. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Educate and inform the whole mass of people…they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.’”
Winners were officially notified of their selection this week. The visits of the Declaration of Independence to the six cities will be scheduled over the next several months.
The Declare Yourself copy of the Declaration of Independence, the 25th known copy in existence, is the only one that tours. Purchased by Norman Lear and his wife Lyn in 2000 for $8.1 million, it is one of 200 “broadsides,” or large poster size sheets, printed on July 4, 1776, only hours after Thomas Jefferson finished the final draft. It was discovered in 1989, in the back of a picture frame that a shopper purchased at a flea market for $4.00.
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About the National Student/Parent Mock Election
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation’s oldest, largest and most successful voter-education project, dating from 1980. Since the first Mock Election in 1980, over 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen and the value of citizenship in our democracy. Every generation is invited to participate in the National Student/Parent Mock Election and to help “preserve and protect” our democracy. Partners for the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election included: USA Today, the Pearson Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, Declare Yourself, Strong American Schools, School Perceptions, Google, BrainPOP, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Student Councils, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the National Association of Secretaries of State. Additionally, the National Student/Parent Mock Election’s supporters have included the Election Assistance Commission, and the Kaplan Foundation. The collective contributions of all supporters help NSPME create a richer and more meaningful experience for students, parents and teachers. For more information, go to www.nationalmockelection.org.
About the Pearson Foundation
Pearson, the international education and information company, is Jumpstart’s Read for the Record’s Sponsor and Founding Partner. The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson's commitment to education by partnering with leading nonprofit, civic, and business organizations to provide financial, organizational, and publishing assistance across the globe. The Foundation aims to make a difference by sponsoring innovative educational programs and extending its educational expertise to help in classrooms and in local communities. For more information, visit www.pearsonfoundation.org.
About Declare Yourself
Declare Yourself is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign to empower and encourage every eligible 18-29 year-old in America to register and vote in local and national elections. Using the power of strategic media and retail partnerships, celebrity spokespeople, and most importantly, mobile and Internet technology, Declare Yourself’s campaign blankets the landscape of popular culture, as well as universities and high schools, with a simple, clear message: REGISTER and VOTE! Since 2004, Declare Yourself has registered almost 4 million young people via our on-line registration tool, on-location efforts, and Ultimate College Bowl contest, contributing significantly to the unprecedented turnout of youth voters in the 2008 Presidential Election – 24 million – a major increase from 2004.
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