New White Paper Advocates for Equity in Civic Education

November 20, 2020

iCivics and Generation Citizen

In 2018, Generation Citizen and iCivics, with support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, began a process of examining the role of equity in civic education. The ensuing paper reports on the process and distillations of that work in hopes of providing insights into what equity in civic education might mean for the field and future generations.

Key Findings

  • Equitable civics is inclusive, representative, and relevant; it promotes diverse voices and draws on students’ lived experiences and perspectives in order to engage them in understanding social issues, the power dynamics that cause them, and the power that young people have to bring change.
  • Lack of funding for more, and more equitable, civic education is a concern for parents, administrators, students, and community members.
  • Equitable civic education requires thoughtful reimagining of curricular and instructional goals around student agency, knowledge and skills, as well as policy and systems support in schools, districts, and the community.
  • This work requires both reflection on organizational stances, goals, and agenda, as well as action towards helping young people understand the complexities of our government and the role they play within it.

There is a need to advocate for more civics and more equitable civic education — a type of civics that helps
young people situate their own experiences and agency in our system of government; a type of civics that does
not shy away from hard content or difficult conversations and teaches the values of civic friendship as well as the skills to combat bias and misinformation.

What Can Policymakers Do?

  • Support more and more robust civic education legislation and policies earlier in the schooling process.
  • Collaborate with districts, schools, and educators to ensure that legislation, standards, and policies support the holistic needs of students.
  • Create legislation, standards, and policies that support schools and teachers to provide more student-centered, experiential, and culturally relevant civics.

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