Show your First Amendment passion — and win a cool $2k

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) will award $2,500 in prize money to the students who create the most inspiring and exciting 30-second public service announcement (PSA) showing the importance of the First Amendment's five freedoms — speech, press, religion, assembly and the right to petition — and demonstrating how those freedoms protect us all.The contest is open to both high school and middle school students, with the first place high school winner taking home $2,000 and the first place middle school winner $500.

Finally — some good news about civics ed!

It looks like the incoming president of the American Bar Association has been reading many of the same alarming surveys we've discussed and has seen enough: He intends to make civics education the hallmark issue of his presidency.ABA President-Elect Stephen Zack said in an interview this week that he wants the group, the largest voluntary professional organization in the world with more than 400,000 lawyer and law-student members, to take a leadership role in creating a pilot program with other bar associations that would give students from every high school in the country the opportunity to participate in an educational course that would immerse them in civics.

Another warning about the sad state of American civics education

Lou Ureneck, chairman of the journalism department at Boston University, has a column in The Boston Globe this week that sounds yet another warning bell about the "sorry" (I might substitute "scary") state of our nation's "civic health" and the impact it has -- and will continue to have -- on political discourse in the United States.