How Can We Teach the Rule of Law? The Educating for American Democracy Initiative, the Rule of Law, and the Role of Lawyers in Civic Education

In honor of Law Day on May 1, our latest Rule of Law Talk conversation focuses on an exciting new civics education effort, the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative, spearheaded by iCivics and dozens of other organizations and institutions, including the American Bar Association. WJP's Elizabeth Andersen is joined by the Executive Director of iCivics, Louise Dubé; the President-Elect of the American Bar Association, Reginald Turner; and an experienced high school civics educator from Nevada, Averill Kelley, who in addition to his work on the civics front lines, has worked with both the ABA and iCivics to support their work.


Law Day, celebrated by the US legal profession every May 1, highlights the important role of law in the United States. This year, the American Bar Association has embraced as its Law Day theme—"Advancing the Rule of Law Now"—reminding all of us that we share the responsibility of promoting the rule of law, defending liberty, and pursuing justice. Listen in to our discussion on:

  • What motivated the development the Educating for American Democracy initiative, and what problems the initiative sets out to address
  • How civics education can address distrust in government institutions
  • What the Educating for American Democracy initiative will help teachers do in the classroom
  • What the role is for lawyers and bar associations in contributing to the initiative
  • The difficulties of agreeing to a common definition of the rule of law, and how the Educating for American Democracy initiative, the ABA's Law Day, and civic education in the classroom can help



Louise Dubé serves as the Executive Director of iCivics.  As the largest provider in the nation, iCivics champions and re-imagines civic education. iCivics is the winner of many awards including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Previously, Louise served as Managing Director of Digital Learning at WGBH.  Before WGBH, Louise had a successful career in educational publishing. Louise won the 2017 People’s Voice award from the DVF - Diller Foundation. She was also recognized as a Donaldson Fellow by the Yale School of Management. Louise began her career as an attorney in Montreal, Canada, and holds a law degree from McGill University, as well as an MBA from Yale University.   In the early 1990s, she served as a co-founder of CASES, a New York alternative-to-incarceration program where education helped re-shape lives.  

Reginald Turner is president-elect of the American Bar Association and, in August 2021, will become president of the largest voluntary association of attorneys and legal professionals in the world. A lawyer with Clark Hill in Detroit, Turner is an accomplished litigator, government affairs advocate, and strategic advisor. Turner is past president of the National Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan. He served as chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and the ABA Commission on the Lawyer's Role in Assuring Every Child a Quality Education. In the ABA House of Delegates, he served as the state delegate for Michigan and as chair of the Rules & Calendar Committee, the Committee on Issues of Concern to the Profession, and the Committee on Credentials and Admissions. He is a past chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.

Averill Kelley is a doctoral student at UNLV where he is studying Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Cultural Studies, International Education, and Multicultural Education. Averill was a public school teacher for over ten years in the Clark County School District where he taught a variety of Social Studies courses and held several leadership positions. Averill earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master in the Art of Teaching degree from Marygrove College.


Educating for American Democracy (EAD)

Law Day 2021

ABA 2021 Survey of Civic Literacy

ABA Supreme Court PREVIEW

Insights on Law & Society magazine

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

ABA Rule of Law Initiative