Capitol Forum on America's Future

The Capitol Forum is an experiential civic education initiative that gives high school students a voice in public consideration of current international issues. The program is organized on a statewide basis and involves students both within their social studies classroom and beyond the classroom at their state capitol in the spring.

Current States

Illinois Capitol Forum

The Illinois Capitol Forum program is sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. The forum at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois takes place on March 4-5.

Nebraska Capitol Forum

The Nebraska Capitol Forum program is sponsored by the Humanities Nebraska in collaboration with Secretary of State John Gale's office. The forum at the state capitol in Lincoln takes place in March.

Rhode Island Capitol Forum

The Rhode Island Capitol Forum program is sponsored by Global Rhode Island and PlanUSA. The forum at the state capitol in Providence takes place in the spring.

Curriculum Resources

The central question of the Capitol Forum is "What role should the United States play in the changing international environment of the 21st century?" At the heart of the Capitol Forum is an exploration of four distinct visions—Futures—for the United States in the coming years. The year-long program culminates in a student ballot that is shared with elected officials and the media. Students are also invited to express their own views as a "Future Five."

The U.S. Role in a Changing World

A one-week unit that includes the Futures provide the focus for statewide Capitol Forum programs. This is also a good foundation for forum programs focused on specific topics.

Curriculum Units on Current Issues

In order to bring content to this central question, students consider a variety of current policy issues. Topics can be selected from the range of current issues addressed by the Choices Program. Current topics include immigration, environmental policy, genocide, terrorism, the Iraq war, trade, nuclear weapons, UN reform, and relations with countries and regions such as China, Russia, Mexico, or the Middle East.

Curriculum Resource Book

The Curriculum Resource Book is designed for use by teachers participating in statewide Capitol Forum programs. It is also useful for those who are running local or regional forums. It provides an overview of the program, a pre-forum lesson, guides used by leaders at statewide forums, and a post-forum lesson. The Capitol Forum Curriculum Resource Book is available from the Choices Program for a small charge. Contact us for details.

Student Views

Prior to the forum at the state capitol, all participating classes develop a Class Statement that represents the consensus of the class regarding their concerns, values, and priorities for America. Following the forum, all students in participating classes engage in classroom discussion and then complete the Student Ballot on America's Future.

See What Students Are Saying about the Capitol Forum.

Capitol Forum Archive


Endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Association of Secretaries of State.