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Joel B. Rothman and novelist team up to confront the lack of civics education plaguing the country

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Joel B. Rothman

Joel B. Rothman

Civics awareness and education continues to be a pressing issue in the United States.  The Pew Research Center recently found that 53% of the public cannot identify the Chief Justice of the Supreme CourtThe Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania has found a full third of those polled could not name a single branch of the U.S. Government and that more than half didn’t know a two-thirds majority vote in Congress can overturn a veto.  An unintended consequence of No Child Left Behind has been a decrease in civics education at the K-12 level and it shows in polls like this.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye to the deplorable state of civics education in our country,” explains Arnstein & Lehr West Palm Beach Partner Joel B. Rothman.  “We see this story play out every day in the news as politicians drag judges and court decisions they disagree with onto the political stage and whip the voting population into a frenzy for political gain. This strategy succeeds because it exploits the electorate’s lack of basic civics knowledge about judicial review and the role judges play in our society.”

Joel Rothman and Stacey Ballis are doing something about this problem.  Mr. Rothman is a former assistant district attorney and Ms. Ballis, author of six books and former high school English teacher, are currently writing Wainright for the PeopleWainwright is a young adult legal thriller scheduled to be published by the American Bar Association Publishing Company.  Touted as “Law & Order meets Encyclopedia Brown,” this novel follows the adventures of Gideon Wainwright, a high school sophomore forced to intern for his assistant district attorney mother during his suspension after taking the fall for a pulled fire alarm while interrupting a bully attack.  Gideon finds himself in the middle of a DA investigation into a crime that’s just a little too close to his troubles at school.  The investigation propels him through the justice system as he, and readers, learn the fundamental concepts behind the Bill of Rights and our system of justice.

Intended to explore concepts of civics education through literary exploration, much like To Kill a Mockingbird explores concepts of social justice and racism, Mr. Rothman and Ms. Ballis are independently producing classroom materials to supplement the novel’s release.  Mr. Rothman and Ms. Ballis are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to help pay for the development of the extra educational material and for marketing directly to the educational market.  Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects

For more information on Mr. Rothman’s Wainright project, click here.