The Partisan Divide over Civic Education

There's growing agreement on the need for to improve civic education in the U.S., but not much consensus over just what it is that students should learn.

The September issue of The Civic Voice examines the "deep and lingering rifts over how to tell the American story." In an article cross-posted on Medium and on The Fulcrum, I look at the longstanding partisan divide between those who want students to focus on original texts and founding documents, and those teaching students to be social activists.

Ultimately, such disputes present a false choice. Students need both fact-based learning, and hands-on lessons that teach them how to vote and engage with public officials, say scholars in the field.

This month's Civic Voice also spotlights an award-winning teacher who is "always searching for that missing voice" to tell the nation's story more completely, and an Annenberg Public Policy Center survey that shows Americans are still flunking civics. (Only 39 percent can name the three branches of government.) Finally, a new book titled "Flunking Democracy" argues that the "first and most important purpose of public education" was to support civic learning. Read the whole Civic Voice here.

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