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ERIC Number: EJ1182087
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
A Look at Civics Education in the United States
Shapiro, Sarah; Brown, Catherine
American Educator, v42 n2 p10-13, 43 Sum 2018
Educators and schools have a responsibility to ensure that young people become engaged and knowledgeable citizens. A recent report on high school civics education nationwide, "The State of Civics Education," finds a wide variation in state requirements and levels of youth engagement. Only nine states and the District of Columbia require one year of U.S. government or civics at the high school level, and state civics curricula are light on building skills and agency for civic engagement. Few states provide service learning opportunities or engage students in relevant project-based learning. Nationwide, students score very low on the Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. government exam. States with the highest rate of youth civic engagement tend to prioritize civics courses and AP U.S. government in their curricula. While most states require only a half year of civics education, two (Colorado and Idaho) have designed detailed curricula that are taught throughout yearlong courses, and one (Idaho) focuses on introducing civics education into its early grades. Non-profits that support civics education include General Citizen, a nonprofit that works in many states, teaches what it calls "action civics" to more than 30,000 middle school and high school students, providing schools with detailed curricula and giving students opportunities for real-world engagement as they work to solve community problems. Teaching Tolerance, an initiative through the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides free materials to emphasize social justice in existing school curricula.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A