WASHINGTON, March 5, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was presented Wednesday evening with the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University’s 2015 John M. Ashbrook Award for his work in championing American history and civics education.
“In my first address as a U.S. Senator, I proposed that we create summer academies for outstanding teachers in United States history. The next year, Congress passed legislation to create the Presidential and Congressional academies to inspire better teaching and more learning of the key events, persons and ideas that shape our nation—helping our children to grow up knowing what it means to be an American,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee. “I thank the Ashbrook Center for their important work in continuing to inspire a love of American history and civics, and I’m glad to accept their award.”
In presenting Alexander with this award, Ashbrook Center Executive Director Roger L. Beckett cited Alexander’s “commitment to educating the next generation about our unique form of constitutional government.” Beckett added, “He pioneered the idea of hosting educational programs at key historical sites during his early days in the Senate. The Ashbrook Center embraced this concept then and continues these types of programs now to great success.”
In 2004, Alexander introduced the American History and Civics Education Act, which allowed for the creation of the Congressional Academies for high school students and the Presidential Academies for teachers to focus on American history and civics. The Ashbrook Center’s program allows high school juniors and teachers of American history and civics to learn first-hand through visits to historical sites in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. At the Ashbrook Center, the programs focus on three critical eras in American history through study of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
According to the Ashbrook Center, the award is presented annually to “honor individuals in politics and related fields who exemplify the ideals” of the late Ohio Congressman John M. Ashbrook, who served in the House of Representatives from 1962 until his death in 1982. These ideals, the award says, “include integrity of thought and conduct; the knowledge of what is right and a determination to do right.”