Chicago School Children Get Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to View Rare Copy of Declaration of Independence
28 April 2010
The Pearson Foundation Declaration of Independence Tour Showcases the Nation's Birth Certificate
Chicago, Il – April 28, 2010 – A surviving copy of the Declaration of Independence helped Chicago school children get the history lesson of a lifetime earlier this month.
The Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pearson, presented the document at two Chicago schools to honor students from across Illinois for their exemplary participation in last year's National Student/Parent Mock Election.
The proclamation was handwritten primarily by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, and the first published copies were made at a print shop owned by John Dunlap. These rare, original copies were taken to be read across the 13 American colonies. One of 25 known copies of the Dunlap imprint, the rare document remains as the only touring copy of the Declaration of Independence through the efforts of Declare Yourself, the nonprofit youth voter registration organization. Declare Yourself founder Norman Lear and his wife Lyn purchased the copy in 2000 for $8.1 million, with the goal of bringing "the people's document" directly to the American people.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin was the keynote speaker at Chicago's Curie Metropolitan High School on April 16, where students had the opportunity to preview the broadside and to consider its role in the founding of the United States. "I think these students are more likely to be participating as citizens in this country," said Senator Durbin."That's what being part of a democracy is all about."
In conjunction with the viewing, a ceremony honored students and teachers from Curie, along with those from Albany Park Community Center, Sutherland School, Rolling Meadows High School, Jefferson Middle School (Champaign), Steinmetz Academic Center, Freeport High School, East Alton-Wood River High School, and Roxana Senior High School. These schools were chosen from among thousands across Illinois for the impressive scope of their voter education and mock election campaigns and for demonstrating leadership in educating young people on the importance of every single vote.
"The visit by the Declaration of Independence was a rare opportunity for our students to witness a piece of living history," said Ron Huberman, Chicago Public Schools' chief executive officer. "Rewarding our students for their civic engagement and their efforts to register voters with a visit from the very document that inspired them to action was a life-changing experience that will have an exciting impact on our community for years to come."
The opportunity to view the Declaration continued for all Chicagoans on April 17 at North-Grand High School.
The Pearson Foundation Declaration of Independence Tour has visited six cities across the country to honor schools, which, in addition to Curie Metropolitan and North-Grand High Schools in Chicago, include Andrew Carnegie Middle School (Carson, CA); the Miami-Dade County School system (FL); Austin Independent School District (TX); and schools in the states of Arizona and New Jersey.
"The Pearson Foundation is honored to support this historic tour, and to recognize Illinois' students and teachers for their energetic participation in the National Mock Election. Their actions remind us of the importance of civic literacy and participation for students, in education and in life," said Pearson Foundation president Mark Nieker.
About Declare Yourself
Declare Yourself is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign to empower and encourage every eligible 18- to 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 an on-line registration tool, on-location efforts, and an 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. For more information, visit www.declareyourself.org.
About Pearson Foundation
The Pearson Foundation extends Pearson's (NYSE: PSO) 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. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at www.pearsonfoundation.org.
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, over 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen as well as 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 Education 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 U.S. 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.