About the Rule of Law Project
"Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults."
- Abraham Lincoln
Now more than ever, we must instill in our children a better appreciation of why we continue to live free and why nations around the world look to America as the beacon of hope for all.
During his term as president of The Virginia Bar Association in 2008, G. Michael Pace, Jr., created the Virginia Law Foundation & The Virginia Bar Association Rule of Law Project, developed its website, and implemented the pilot project in middle schools in Roanoke and Salem, Virginia, on February 18, 2009.
The mission of the VLF/VBA Rule of Law Project is to change fundamentally the way the rule of law is taught in America’s schools. This unique educational program, involving members of local bar associations and middle school civics teachers, teaches students about the origin, meaning and applicability of the rule of law as the basis of the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens. This collaboration among teachers, lawyers and judges empowers students at a formative age to become active and engaged citizens as adults, and serves as a model program that can be replicated anywhere.
The VLF/VBA Rule of Law Project is specifically designed to foster creativity among participants in introducing the Project to schools and students. The curriculum is web-based, interactive, free, consistent with the Virginia Standards of Learning, and endorsed by Dr. Patricia I. Wright, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction. While the curriculum materials provide an implementation framework, local bar members, teachers and others are encouraged to design and implement the Project in creative ways that best suit their communities and circumstances. The website contains all the tools needed to plan and implement the Project. The Project’s interdisciplinary materials are adaptable to different age and ability levels, and are appropriate for combined Civics and English/Language Arts classes, secondary history and government, and college and graduate school courses.
The VLF/VBA Rule of Law Project is based on the underlying principle that, under the rule of law, the people make the laws, which are to be fairly and equally applied to everyone, and that the people agree to obey those laws. There can be no legitimate government without the consent of the governed. The rule of law is the tie that binds citizens together as a nation of diverse people. It sustains a constitutional representative form of democracy, system of justice, economy, and civil society. None of this is possible without an independent judiciary that provides the critical check and balance against governmental overreaching and unjust laws. Teaching our children these lessons will make the rule of law relevant to them. If we do not, we will forget from where we came as a nation, and the rule of law as we know it will fade away, diminishing America’s role as a model for other nations to follow.
It is the intention of the VLF/VBA Rule of Law Project to make the world a better place, one student at a time.