In addition, a local teacher who tested and graded the Our Courts Web site (http://www.ourcourts.org/), which features interactive games for students and classroom materials for teachers, gave the program an "A."
"The people and organizations who helped design this Web site are a Who's Who in education and legal circles," wrote Stephanie Robertson, a former junior-high social studies and English teacher, now a teacher at Perry High in Chandler. "No doubt this helps make the Web site the valuable resource that it is."
The project also is supported by Georgetown University Law Center, and the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education and the College of Teacher Education & Leadership at Arizona State University.
In her column, "Lassoing young minds: 'Cowgirl' ex-justice aims to boost civics knowledge among schoolkids," Republic editorial writer Linda Valdez quoted research that less than half of Americans surveyed could name the three branches of government. Only 3.5 percent of Arizona's high-school students know enough to pass a U.S. citizenship test, Valdez reported.
"O'Connor is one Arizona cowgirl who understands the need to be resourceful when tackling tough jobs, like sick cows or clueless kids," she wrote. "Ourcourts.org is a lively and modern effort designed to appeal to kids and get them excited about the government they will inherit."
To read the editorial, click here. To view the report card, click here.The news article, by Republic reporter Alex Dalenberg and titled, "Computer games to teach youths about judiciary," quoted O'Connor as saying she hopes Our Courts will be used in schools around the country. She is writing to governors and other leaders to encourage them to adopt the Web-based program in their schools.
"I think it's going to be absolutely terrific, I really do," O'Connor said.
To read the full article, click here.