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ERIC Number: EJ1043127
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Teaching Civics in a Time of Partisan Polarization
Levine, Peter; Kawashima-Ginsberg, Kei
Social Education, v77 n4 p215-217 Sep 2013
At every stage in the nation's history, the next generation must be deliberately educated to be active and responsible citizens. That is always a complex and challenging task, but the challenges differ as the context evolves. Today, students and teachers of civics face special barriers as well as unusual opportunities. For one thing, national politics is polarized and dysfunctional, and the spectacle of gridlock and bitter struggle in Washington can alienate students entirely from public life. In this polarized climate, the very idea that young people should be active citizens has become controversial. Adults are quick to assume that educating young people about anything related to politics means indoctrinating them in one set of beliefs or mobilizing them to vote for a particular party. Yet the best long-term solution to gridlock and hyper-partisanship may be to teach students to talk to people who disagree with them, form their own reasonable views, and act together constructively. Nowadays, students will need to navigate online information and opinion and learn to communicate responsibly online as well as face-to-face. The need for civic education that includes civil discussion and information literacy is stronger than ever. To assess challenges and opportunities facing civic education today, CIRCLE (the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) surveyed 4,483 representative Americans (ages 18-24) by cell phone and land-line phones immediately after the 2012 election and asked them about their political knowledge, their engagement in the campaign, and what they recalled experiencing in their high school civics and government classes. Several months later, the authors surveyed 720 current high school civics and government teachers and asked them about their teaching methods and goals and the context in which they teach. In this article, the authors present some findings from the teacher and youth surveys that are especially relevant to teachers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A