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PHOENIX -- Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said Arizona children need to learn more about government and urged educators to utilize her free, interactive online civics program.

During a joint news conference with Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, the pair iterated the importance of civic knowledge and both agree that it is critical for the health of our nation.

"We want our country to be a success and they are going to be in charge," said O'Connor. "If they don't know how it works and how they are a part of it, it will fail."

In 2009, O'Connor founded iCivics.org, a web-based program that provides free interactive video games and teaching materials to prepare students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens of the 21st century. Since its creation, the program has tought thousands of children across the nation about government.

"I have talked to students from time to time and they tell me it's fun," said O'Connor. "They just enjoy it and I happen to know they are learning a lot, otherwise they wouldn't be enjoying it as much as they are."

Meanwhile, Huppenthal has launched the Excellence in Civic Engagement program to "regognize the efforts of schools that offer educational programs based on proven techniques that demonstrate a school's commitement to excellence in civic education."

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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