Manual Get Ready! for Social Studies : Civics Government and Citizenship (Get Ready for Social Studies)

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This requires teaching students to obey the law; not to interfere with the rights of others; and to honor their country, its principles, and its values. Schools must teach those traits or virtues that conduce to democratic character: cooperation, honesty, toleration, and respect. So we inculcate in our students the values and virtues that our society honors as those that constitute good citizenship and good character. But if we inculcate a love of justice, say, is it the justice found in our laws or an ideal justice that underlies all laws?

Obviously, this question will not arise in the minds of most, if any, first graders. As students mature and develop cognitively, however, such questions will arise. So a high-school student studying American History might well ask whether the Jim Crow laws found in the South were just laws simply because they were the law.

Or were they only just laws until they were discovered through argument to be unjust? Or were they always unjust because they did not live up to some ideal conception of justice? Then we could introduce Phase Two of character education: education in judgment. Judgment is based on weighing and considering reasons and evidence for and against propositions.

Judgment is a virtue that relies upon practical wisdom; it is established as a habit through practice. Judgment, or thoughtfulness, was the master virtue for Aristotle from whose exercise comes an appreciation for those other virtues: honesty, cooperation, toleration, and respect. Because young children have difficulty taking up multiple perspectives, as developmental psychologists tell us, thinking and deliberating that require the consideration of multiple perspectives would seem unsuitable for elementary-school children. Peters offers an important consideration in this regard:.

But the difference is always one of degree. Elementary-school students have yet to develop the skills and knowledge, or have yet to gain the experience, to participate in phase- two procedures that require perspectivism. In this two-phased civic education teachers inculcate specific virtues such as patriotism. But at a later stage this orientation toward solidifying a conventional perspective gives way to one of critical thinking.

The first requires loyalty; the second, judgment. We teach the first through pledges, salutes, and oaths; we teach the second through critical inquiry. Have we introduced a significant problem when we teach students to judge values, standards, and beliefs critically? Students need to see and hear that disagreement does not necessarily entail disrespect.

Thoughtful, decent people can disagree. To teach students that those who disagree with us in a complicated situation like abortion or affirmative action are wrong or irresponsible or weak is to treat them unfairly. It also conveys the message that we think that we are infallible and have nothing to learn from what others have to say. Such positions undercut democracy. Would all parents approve of such a two-phased civic education? Yet the response to such parental concerns must be the same as that to any authority figure: Why do you think that you are always right?

This, however, presupposes that parents, or authority figures, are themselves willing to exercise critical judgment on their own positions, values, and behaviors. This point underscores the need to involve other social institutions and persons in character education. In the United States, most students are required to take courses on government or civics, and the main content is essentially political science for high school students. In other words, they use textbooks and other written materials to learn about the formal structure and behavior of political institutions, from local government to the United Nations Godsay et al.

The philosophical justifications for this kind of curriculum are rarely developed fully, but probably an underlying idea is that citizens ought to play certain concrete roles--voting, monitoring the news, serving on juries, petitioning the government--and to do so effectively requires a baseline understanding of the political system.

Specific policies should result from a deliberative process to define the educational opportunities that all students must receive and to select appropriate outcomes for civic education — all overseen by a court concerned with assessing whether civic education is constitutionally "adequate. State standards are regulatory documents that affect the curriculum in public schools. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted standards for civics as part of social studies Godsay et al, The logic of moving from question-generation to ultimately action suggests an implicit theory of civic engagement.

In the subsequent sections, we examine some proposals for alternative forms of civic education that are also philosophically interesting. Ideally, the students take their experience and observations from service into their academic work, and use their academic research and discussions to inform their service. Jerome Bruner, the renowned educator and psychologist, proposed that some classroom learning ought to be devoted to students creating political-action plans addressing significant social and political issues such as poverty or race. He also urged educators to get their students out into the local communities to explore the occupations, ways of life, and habits of residence.

Bruner is here following Dewey, who criticized traditional education for its failure to get teachers and students out into the community to become intimately familiar with the physical, historical, occupational, and economic conditions that could then be used as educational resources Dewey , Empirical evidence suggests that experiential education may be most effective for civic learning. To bring them out of this private and passive understanding, nothing is better, as Tocqueville noted, than political participation.

The kind of participation here is political action, not simply voting or giving money. Another influence on service-learning is the theory of social capital, described above. If a democracy depends on people serving one another and developing habits and networks of reciprocal concern--and if that kind of interaction is declining in a country like the United States--then it is natural to encourage or require students to serve as part of their learning.

Some critics e. We can think of civic action as participation that involves far more than serving, voting, working or writing a letter to the editor. It can take many other forms: attending and participating in political meetings; organizing and running meetings, rallies, protests, fund drives; gathering signatures for bills, ballots, initiatives, recalls; serving on local elected and appointed boards; starting or participating in political clubs; deliberating with fellow citizens about social and political issues central to their lives; and pursuing careers that have public value.

Youth Organizing is a widespread practice that engages adolescents in civic or political activities. That is a cognitively and ethically demanding activity that can be learned from experience. The most promising pedagogy is to discuss current events with a moderator--usually the teacher--and some requirement to prepare in advance. Debates are competitive discussions. Simulations such as mock trials or the Model UN involve discussing issues from the perspective of fictional or historical characters.

And deliberations usually involve students speaking in their own real voice and trying to find common ground. See, e. For instance, should a teacher disclose her or his own views or attempt to conceal them to be a neutral moderator? What questions should be presented as genuinely controversial? Most people would insist that slavery is no longer a controversy and should not be treated as such. But what about the reality of climate change? John Dewey argued that, from the 18 th century onward, states came to see education as the best means of perpetuating and recovering their political power.

In other words, it is in democratic states that we want to look for the preparation of good persons as well as good citizens; that is, for democratic education, which in this context, to repeat for emphasis, is what is meant by civic education. Creating a democratic culture within the schools not only facilitates preparing students for democratic participation in the political system, but it also fosters a democratic environment that shapes the relationships with adults and among peers that the students already engage in.

Real problems, and not hypotheticals or academic exercises, are, Dewey argued, always of real concern to students. Book lessons and classroom discussions rarely connect with decision-making on issues that affect that community. The experiences that he wanted to promote were those that underscored healthy growth; those, in other words, that generated a greater desire to learn and to keep on learning and that built upon prior experiences. One logical, and practical, possibility was to make the operations of the school part of the curriculum.

Let the students use their in-school experiences to make, or help make, decisions that directly affect some of the day-to-day operations of the school—student discipline, maintenance of the grounds and buildings, problems with cliques, issues of sexism and racism, incidents of ostracism, and the like—as well as topics and issues inside the classrooms. It is not surprising that Dewey wanted to give students experience in making decisions that affect their lives in schools.

What is surprising is that so little democracy takes place in schools and that those who spend the most time in schools have the least opportunity to experience it. The significance of democratic decision-making within the schools and about the wider community—the making of actual decisions through democratic means—cannot be overstated. As a propaedeutic to democratic participation, political action of this sort is invaluable.

Melissa S. Of course, not everything in school should be decided democratically. There are some areas in which decisions require expertise—a combination of experience and knowledge—that rules out students as decision-makers. Chief among such areas is pedagogy. Because the teachers and administrators know more about the processes of education and about their subjects, because they have firsthand and often intimate knowledge of the range and nature of abilities and problems of their students—a point emphasized by Dewey , 56 —as well as the particular circumstances in which the learning takes place, they and not the students should make pedagogical decisions.

At the same time, because many students are still children, the decisions that they are to make should be age-appropriate. Not all democratic procedures or school issues are suitable for all ages. Differences in cognitive, social, and emotional development, especially at the elementary-school level, complicate democratic action.

While all students may have the same capacity as potentiality, activating those capacities requires development, as noted in the discussion of a two-phased form of civic education. Deweyan ideas about the school as a community live on in several kinds of practice. First, in some experimental schools, students, teachers, and parents actually govern democratically. In a Sudbury School of which the first was founded in Sudbury, Massachusetts in , the whole community governs the institution through weekly town meetings. Much more common is to give students some degree of voice in the governance of a school through an elected student government, student-run media, and policies that encourage students to express their opinions.

Another very prevalent approach is to support and encourage students to manage their own voluntary associations within a school: clubs, teams, etc. This for Freire is unacceptable as civic education. Too often, observes Freire, students are asked to memorize and repeat ideas, stanzas, phrases, and formulas without understanding the meaning of or meaning behind them. Like Dewey, Freire thinks that knowledge comes only from invention and reinvention and the perpetual inquiry in the world that is a mark of all free human beings.

Students thereby educate the teachers as well. That power is to be used to liberate themselves from oppression. Freire worked primarily with illiterate adult peasants in South America, but his work has applications as well to schools and school-aged children. It is to be a pedagogy for all, and Freire includes oppressors and the oppressed.

To overcome oppression people must first critically recognize its causes. Until the oppressed seek to remove this internalized oppressor, they cannot be free. They will continue to live in the duality of both oppressed and oppressor. It is no wonder, then, as Freire tells us, that peasants once promoted to overseers become more tyrannical toward their former workmates than the owners themselves Ibid, Having confronted the reality of the dual nature of her consciousness, having discovered her own internal oppressor and realized her actual situation, the person now must act on her realization.

She must act, in other words, in and on the world so as to lessen oppression. For Freire, to question was not enough; people must act as well. The circles consist of somewhere between 12 and 25 students and some teachers, all involved in dialogic exchange. The oppressed thereby use their own experiences and language to explain and surmount their oppression. They do not rely upon others, even teachers, to explain their oppressed circumstances.

The reciprocity of roles means that students teach teachers as teachers teach students. Dialogue encourages everyone to teach and everyone to create together. Because Freire worked with illiterate adult peasants, he insisted that the circles use the ways of speaking and the shared understandings of the peasants themselves. In the circles the learners identify their own problems and concerns and seek answers to them in the group dialogue.

Codifications may be photographs, drawings, poems, even a single word.

As representations, codifications abstract the daily circumstances. For example, a photograph of workers in a sugar cane field permits workers to talk about the realities of their work and working conditions without identifying them as the actual workers in the photograph. The circles therefore have four basic elements: 1 problem posing, 2 critical dialogue, 3 solution posing, and 4 plan of action. The goal, of course, is to overcome the problems, but it is also to raise the awareness, the critical consciousness conscientization , of the learners so as to end oppression in their individual and collective lives.

The increased critical awareness enables learners to appropriate language without being colonized by it. True dialogue is for Freire what civic education must be about. If civic education does not include it, then there is little hope that the future will be anything for the oppressed but a continuation of the present. Essential to such education are the experiences of the students, whatever their ages or situations. Cosmopolitanism is an emerging and, because of globalization, an increasingly important topic for civic educators.

In an earlier iteration, cosmopolitan education was multicultural education. According to both, good persons need to be aware of the perspectives of others and the effects their decisions have on others. Should and must civic education incorporate a global awareness and foster a cosmopolitan sensibility? Martha Nussbaum, for one, thinks so. Nussbaum argues that our first obligation must be to all persons, regardless of race, creed, class, or border.

She does not mean that we ought to forsake our commitments to our family, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. Civic education should reflect that Ibid, Philosopher Eamonn Callan, however, thinks otherwise. Of course, the danger here is that a liberal patriot may well feel a sense of obligation or responsibility only when her country is committing the injustice. This thought is to be contrasted with our feelings and sense of responsibility when, as Callan suggests, Soviet tanks rolled through Prague. Because, according to Callan, our politico-moral identity was not implicated in the Soviet action, we somehow do not have to have a similar sense of horror and rage.

Perhaps we do not have to, but should we? What, therefore, should civic education look like? It appears that Nussbaum would favor the first, while Callan favors the second. Perhaps these two are not the only options. In her metaphor of concentric identity circles Nussbaum argues that we ought to try to bring the outer circles of our relationships, the circle of all humanity, closer to the center, to our selves and to our loved ones , 9.

By doing so, we do not push out of our identities those particular relationships of significance to us. Instead, we need to take into consideration the effects that our moral and political decisions have on all of humanity. If our civic education helps us extend our sympathies, as Hume proposed, and if we could do so without paying the price of muting or eliminating our local and national affinities, then would Nussbaum and Callan agree on such a civic education? Additionally, we need to consider that patriotism itself seems to have its own version of concentric circles. Is it ever too early to begin educating children about the cultures, customs, values, ideas, and beliefs of people from around the world?

6 Ways to Make Civics Learning Come Alive

Will this undercut our commitment and even devotion to our own family, neighborhood, region, and nation? There ought to be a composite that will work here. If the purpose of civic education is to generate in the young those values that underscore successful participation in our liberal democracies, then the task facing educators, whether in elementary school, secondary school, or post-secondary school, might be far easier than we imagine.

There seems to be a direct correlation between years in school and an increase in tolerance of difference Nie et al. An increase of tolerance can lead to an increase of respect for those holding divergent views. Such increases could certainly help engender a cosmopolitan sensibility. But does the number of years in school correlate with a willingness to participate in the first place? For example, the number of Americans going to college has increased dramatically over the past 50 years, yet voting in elections and political participation in general are still woefully low.

Perhaps public schools should not teach any virtue that is unrelated to the attainment of academic skills, which to some is the paramount, if not the sole, purpose of schooling. If our democracies are important and robust, then do our citizens need such predispositions to see the value of participation? Will they need infusions of patriotism to do that? If tolerance and respect are democratic virtues, then do we fail our students when we do not tolerate or respect their desires as good persons to eschew civic participation even though this violates what we think of as the duties of good citizens?

As stated earlier, civic education in a democracy must prepare citizens to participate in and thereby perpetuate the system; at the same time, it must prepare them to challenge what they see as inequities and injustices within that system. Yet a civic education that encourages students to challenge the nature and scope of our democracies runs the risk of turning off our students and turning them away from participation.

But if that civic education has offered more than simply critique, if its basis is critical thinking, which involves developing a tolerance of, if not an appreciation for, difference and divergence, as well as a willingness and even eagerness for political action, then galvanized citizens can make our systems more robust. Greater demands on our citizens, like higher expectations of our students, often lead to stronger performances. Levine tufts.

The philosophical questions have been less explored, but they are essential. For example: Who has the full rights and obligations of a citizen? The Good Citizen: Historical Conceptions 1. The Good Democrat 2. The Good Person 3. Modern Forms of Civic Education 4. This policy of supplying by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power; where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other; that the private interest of every individual may be a centinel over the public rights.

These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the state. Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, Federalist 51 1. The Good Democrat Civic education can occur in all kinds of regimes, but it is especially important in democracies. She wrote, At any time that individuals may gain from the costly action of others, without themselves contributing time and effort, they face collective action dilemmas for which there are coping methods.

Some aspects of the science of association are both counterintuitive and counterintentional, and thus must be taught to each generation as part of the culture of a democratic citizenry. Ostrom Ostrom believed that these principles could be taught explicitly and formally, but the traditional and most effective means for teaching them were experiential. The Good Person The qualities of the good citizen are not simply the skills necessary to participate in the political system.

Peters offers an important consideration in this regard: The cardinal function of the teacher, in the early stages, is to get the pupil on the inside of the form of thought or awareness with which he is concerned. At a later stage, when the pupil has built into his mind both the concepts and the mode of exploration involved, the difference between teacher and taught is obviously only one of degree.

For both are participating in the shared experience of exploring a common world , Modern Forms of Civic Education In the United States, most students are required to take courses on government or civics, and the main content is essentially political science for high school students.

Cosmopolitan Education Cosmopolitanism is an emerging and, because of globalization, an increasingly important topic for civic educators. Bibliography Works Cited Aristotle. The Politics , Stephen Everson ed. Battistoni, Richard M. Boyte, Harry C. Kari, Bruner, Jerome, Callan, Eamonn, Conover, P. McDonnell, P. Timpane, and R. Benjamin eds. Delli Carpini, M. For example, does a high school civics course have lasting effects on various kinds of students, and what would make it more effective?

From the s until the s, empirical questions concerning civic education were relatively neglected, mainly because of a prevailing assumption that intentional programs would not have significant and durable effects, given the more powerful influences of social class and ideology Cook, Who has the full rights and obligations of a citizen? This question is especially contested with regard to children, immigrant aliens, and individuals who have been convicted of felonies.

In what communities ought we see ourselves as citizens? The nation-state is not the only candidate; some people see themselves as citizens of local geographical communities, organizations, movements, loosely-defined groups, or even the world as a whole. What responsibilities does a citizen of each kind of community have? Do all members of each community have the same responsibilities, or ought there be significant differences, for example, between elders and children, or between leaders and other members?

What is the relationship between a good regime and good citizenship? Aristotle held that there were several acceptable types of regimes, and each needed different kinds of citizens. That makes the question of good citizenship relative to the regime-type. But other theorists have argued for particular combinations of regime and citizen competence. For example, classical liberals endorsed regimes that would make relatively modest demands on citizens, both because they were skeptical that people could rise to higher demands and because they wanted to safeguard individual liberty against the state.

Civic republicans have seen a certain kind of citizenship--highly active and deliberative--as constitutive of a good life, and therefore recommend a republican regime because it permits good citizenship. Who may decide what constitutes good citizenship? If we consider, for example, students enrolled in public schools in the United States, should the decision about what values, habits, and capabilities they should learn belong to their parents, their teachers, the children themselves, the local community, the local or state government, or the nation-state?

We may reach different conclusions when thinking about 5-year-olds and adult college students. For some regimes—fascist or communist, for example—this is not perceived as a danger at all but, instead, the very purpose of their forms of civic education. In democracies, the question is more complex because public institutions may have to teach people to be good democratic citizens, but they can decide to do so in ways that reinforce the power of the state and reduce freedom.

What means of civic education are ethically appropriate? It might, for example, be effective to punish students who fail to memorize patriotic statements, or to pay students for community service, but the ethics of those approaches would be controversial.

An educator might engage students in open discussions of current events because of a commitment to treating them as autonomous agents, regardless of the consequences. As with other topics, the proper relationship between means and ends is contested. These questions are rarely treated together as part of comprehensive theories of civic education; instead, they arise in passing in works about politics or education. Some of these questions have never been much explored by professional philosophers, but they arise frequently in public debates about citizenship. It must be taught and learned. Sometimes, civic education is also intended to make all citizens, or at least prospective leaders, effective as citizens or to reduce disparities in political power by giving everyone the knowledge, confidence, and skills they need to participate.

This section briefly introduces several conceptions of civic education that have been influential in the history of the West. The ancient Greek city state or polis was thought to be an educational community, expressed by the Greek term paideia. The purpose of political—that is civic or city—life was the self-development of the citizens. This meant more than just education, which is how paideia is usually translated. Education for the Greeks involved a deeply formative and life-long process whose goal was for each person read: man to be an asset to his friends, to his family, and, most important, to the polis.

Becoming such an asset necessitated internalizing and living up to the highest ethical ideals of the community. Above all, the person should have a keen sense of duty to the city. Every aspect of Greek culture in the Classical Age—from the arts to politics and athletics—was devoted to the development of personal powers in public service. Paideia was inseparable from another Greek concept: arete or excellence, especially excellence of reputation but also goodness and excellence in all aspects of life.

Thus one could only develop himself in politics, through participation in the activities of the polis; and as individuals developed the characteristics of virtue, so would the polis itself become more virtuous and excellent. All persons, whatever their occupations or tasks, were teachers, and the purpose of education—which was political life itself—was to develop a greater a nobler, stronger, more virtuous public community.

Ancient and medieval thinkers generally assumed that good government and good citizenship were intimately related, because a regime would degenerate unless its people actively and virtuously supported it. Aristotle regarded his Politics and his Ethics as part of the same subject. In his view, a city-state could not be just and strong unless its people were virtuous, and men could not exercise the political virtues which were intrinsically admirable, dignified, and satisfying unless they lived in a just polity.

Civic virtue was especially important in a democratic or mixed regime, but even in a monarchy or oligarchy, people were expected to sustain the political community. Classical liberal thinkers, however, saw serious drawbacks to making good government dependent on widespread civic virtue. First, any demanding and universal system of moral education would be incompatible with individual freedom. The second problem was more practical. States did not have a very good record of producing moral virtue in rulers or subjects.

Mandatory church membership, state-subsidized education, and even public spectacles of torture and execution did not reliably prevent corruption, sedition and other private behavior injurious to the community. Thomas Hobbes is sometimes described as a forerunner of liberalism despite his advocacy of absolute monarchy because he held a dim view of human nature and thought that the way to prevent political disaster was to design the government right, not to try to improve civic virtue. He also held that a good government was one that permitted people to live their own lives safely.

Other classical liberal thinkers typically favored some degree of civic education and civic virtue, even as they proposed limitations on the state and a strong private sphere to reduce the dependence of the regime on civic virtue. In other words, they steered a middle course between pure classical liberalism and civic republicanism. But it appeared in a minor, unpublished fragment. Likewise, the emphasis of his political writing was on limiting the power of the state and protecting private rights. James Madison hoped for some degree of civic virtue in the people and especially in their representatives.

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. These tools included constitutional limitations on the overall power and scope of government; independent judges with power of review; elections with relatively broad franchise; and above all, checks and balances. Madison explained that republics should be designed for people of moderate virtue, such as might be found in real societies. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controuls on government would be necessary.

However, voting was not enough, especially since the voters themselves might lack virtue and wisdom. Although ancient Athens instituted democracy, her most famous philosophers—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle—were not great champions of it. At best they were ambiguous about democracy; at worst, they were hostile toward it. Yet Rousseau had his doubts that men could be good men and simultaneously good citizens.

A good man for Rousseau is a natural man, with the attributes of freedom, independence, equality, happiness, sympathy, and love-of-self amour de soi found prior to society in the state of nature. Thus society could do little but corrupt such a man. Still, Rousseau recognized that life in society is unavoidable, and so civic education or learning to function well in society is also unavoidable.

The ideal for Rousseau is for men to act morally and yet retain as much of their naturalness as possible. Yet prescribing those rules is not a subjective or selfish act. Enacting the general will is the only legitimately moral foundation for a law and the only expression of moral freedom. Getting men to ask this question and to answer it actively is the purpose of civic education. Showing how to educate men to retain naturalness and yet to function in society and participate untouched by corruption in this direct democracy was the purpose of his educational treatise, Emile.

If it could be done, Rousseau would show us the way. How could a man for Rousseau be a good man—meaning, for him a naturally good man , 93 , showing his amour de soi and also his natural compassion for others—and also have the proper frame of mind of a good citizen to be able to transcend self-interest and prescribe the general will?

Rousseau himself seems ambivalent on exactly whether men can overcome social corruption. Society is based on private property; private property brings inequality, as some own more than others; such inequality brings forth social comparisons with others amour propre , which in turn can produce envy, pride, and greed. Only when and if men can exercise their moral and political freedom and will the general will can they be saved from the corrupting influences of society.

Willing for the general will, which is the good for all, is the act of a moral or good person. Its exercise in the assembly is the act of a good citizen. There seems little, if any, ambiguity here. One cannot make both a man and a citizen at the same time. Perhaps the contradiction might be resolved if we emphasize that a man cannot be made a man and a citizen at the same time, but he can be a man and a citizen at the same time. Doubtless, this will be a rare man, but raising a man to live a natural life can be done. One might find the fully mature, and natural, Emile an abhorrent person.

Is his independence fear of dependence and thus built on an inability ever to be interdependent? Mill argued that participation in representative government, or democracy, is undertaken both for its educative effects on participants and for the beneficial political outcomes.

How do kids learn about their country and the world?

Thus, political participation is a form of civic education good for men and for citizens. So, progress is encouraged when society develops the qualities of citizens and persons. Mill tells us that good government depends on the qualities of the human beings that compose it. Men of virtuous character acting in and through justly administered institutions will stabilize and perpetuate the good society.

Good persons will be good citizens, provided they have the requisite political institutions in which they can participate. Such participation—as on juries and parish offices—takes participants out of themselves and away from their selfish interests. Good persons act politically as good citizens and are thereby maintained or extended in their goodness.

Following Tocqueville, Mill saw political participation as the basis for this national education. Mill was certainly aware of this. Mill feared, as did Tocqueville, that the undereducated or uneducated would dominate and tyrannize politics so as to undermine authority and individuality. Being ignorant and inexperienced, the uneducated and undereducated would be susceptible to all manner of demagoguery and manipulation. So too much power in the hands of the inept and ignorant could damage good citizenship and dam the course of self-development.

To remedy this Mill proposed two solutions: limit participation and provide the competent and educated with plural votes. These representatives and experts would not only carry out their political duties, but they would also educate the public through debate and deliberation in representative assemblies, in public forums, and through the press. To assure that the best were elected and for the sake of rational government, Mill provided plural votes to those with college educations and to those of certain occupations and training.

All citizens but the criminal and illiterate could vote, but not all citizens would vote equally. But education was the great leveling factor. Though not his view when he wrote Considerations on Representative Government , Mill wrote in his autobiography that universal education could make plural voting unnecessary , pp. As noted above the founders of the United States tried to reduce the burdens on citizens, because they observed that republics had generally collapsed for lack of civic virtue.

So virtually all of the founders advocated greater attention to civic education. Initially education in America was not publicly funded. Instead it was every community for itself. Nor was it universal education. Education was restricted to free white males and, moreover, free white males who could afford the school fees. As a result, he created his own speller and dictionary as a way of advancing a common American language. Opposed to this idea of developing a national identity was Thomas Jefferson, who saw education as the means for safeguarding individual rights, especially against the intrusions of the state.

Through his ward system of education, Jefferson proposed establishing free schools to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, and from these schools those of intellectual ability, regardless of background or economic status, would receive a college education paid for by the state. The civic education curriculum was explicit, if not simplistic. To create good citizens and good persons required little beyond teaching the basic mechanics of government and imbuing students with loyalty to America and her democratic ideals.

That involved large amounts of rote memorization of information about political and military history and about the workings of governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal levels. It also involved conformity to specific rules describing conduct inside and outside of school. Through this kind of civic education, all children would be melded, if not melted, into an American citizen. A heavy emphasis on Protestantism at the expense of Catholicism was one example of such work.

While Webster and, after him, Mann wanted public education to generate the national identity that they thought democracy required, later educational reformers moved away from the idea of the common school and toward a differentiation of students. The Massachusetts Commission on Industrial and Technical Education, for example, pushed in for industrial and vocational education in the public schools. Educating all youth equally for participation in democracy by giving them a liberal, or academic, education, they argued, was a waste of time and resources.

Acting against this view of education was John Dewey. Because Dewey saw democracy as a way of life, he argued that all children deserved and required a democratic education. Dewey thought that the actual interests and experiences of students should be the basis of their education. I recur to a consideration of Dewey and civic education below. Civic education can occur in all kinds of regimes, but it is especially important in democracies. The answer for him is a politea or a mixed constitution in which persons must know both how to rule and how to obey.

In such regimes, the excellence and virtues of the good man and the good citizen coincide. Democratic societies have an interest in preparing citizens to rule and to be ruled. Modern democracies, however, are different from the ancient polis in several important and pertinent respects. They are mass societies in which most people can have little individual impact on government and policy. They are complex, technologically-driven, highly specialized societies in which professionals including lawyers, civil servants, and politicians have much more expertise than laypeople.

And they are liberal constitutional regimes in which individual freedom is protected--to various degrees--and government is deliberately insulated from public pressure. For example, courts and central banks are protected from popular votes. Once the United States had become an industrialized mass society, the influential columnist Walter Lippmann argued that ordinary citizens had been eclipsed and could, at most, render occasional judgments about a government of experts see The Phantom Public, John Dewey and the Chicago civic leader Jane Addams in different ways asserted that the lay public must and could regain its voice, but they struggled to explain how.

Several contemporary philosophers argue that citizens have a relatively demanding role and that they can and should be educated for it. Gutmann , for example, argues that democratic society-at-large has a significant stake in the education of its children, for they will grow up to be democratic citizens. At the very least, then, society has the responsibility for educating all children for citizenship. Because democratic societies have this responsibility, we cannot leave the education of future citizens to the will or whim of parents. This central insight leads Gutmann to rule out certain exclusive suzerainties of power over educational theory and policy.

Those suzerainties are of three sorts. Only the state can be entrusted with the authority to mandate and carry out an education of such magnitude that all will learn to desire this one particular good life over all others. The desire here is to avoid controversy, and to avoid teaching virtues, in a climate of social pluralism.


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Choosing to educate for freedom rather than for virtue is still insinuating an influential choice. Whatever our aim of education, whatever kind of education these authorities argue for, it will not be, it cannot be, neutral. Needed is an educational aim that is inclusive. Gutmann settles on our inclusive commitment as democratic citizens to conscious social reproduction, the self-conscious shaping of the structures of society.

For this reason, she argues forcefully that children must learn to exercise critical deliberation among good lives and, presumably, good societies. To assure that they can do so, limits must be set for when and where parents and the state can interfere. Guidelines must be introduced that limit the political authority of the state and the parental authority of families. In this way, adults cannot use their freedom to deliberate to prohibit the future deliberative freedom of children. The second limit is nondiscrimination, which prevents the state or groups within the state from excluding anyone or any group from an education in deliberation.

Instead, her point is that all citizens of the state have a common interest in educating future citizens. Therefore, while parents should have a say in the education of their children, the state should have a say as well. Yet neither should have the final, or a monopolistic, say. Indeed, these two interested parties should also cede some of their educational authority to educational experts. But is conscious social reproduction the only aim of education? Or are the skills that encourage citizen participation also the skills necessary for making personal life choices and personal decision-making?

Here Gutmann is stipulating that to have conscious social reproduction citizens must have the opportunity—the freedom and the capacities—to exercise personal or self-reflective choice. Because the state is interested in the education of future citizens, all children must develop those capacities necessary for choice among good societies; this is simply what Gutmann means by being able to participate in conscious social reproduction. Yet such capacities also enable persons to scrutinize the ways of life that they have inherited.

On this last point Gutmann is insistent. Yet what Gutmann suggests seems to go beyond seeing diversity as enrichment. She suggests that children not simply tolerate ways of life divergent from their own, but that they actually respect them. Perhaps this is a subtlety that Gutmann intended, but William Galston, for one, has come away thinking that Gutmann advocates forcing children to confront their own ways of life as they simultaneously show respect for neo-Nazis.

This, he says, is what our democratic system demands from citizens. Because civic education is limited in scope to what Galston outlines above, students will not be expected, and will not be taught, to evaluate their own ways of life. Persons must be able to lead the kinds of lives they find valuable, without fear that they will be coerced into believing or acting or thinking contrary to their values, including being led to question those ways of life that they have inherited.

Some parents, for example, are not interested in having their children choose ways of life. Those parents believe that the way of life that they currently follow is not simply best for them but is best simpliciter. To introduce choice is simply to confuse the children and the issue.

If you know the true way to live, is it best to let your children wade among diverse ways of life until they can possibly get it right? Or should you socialize the children into the right way of life as soon and as quickly as possible? Yet what about the obligations that parents, as citizens, and children as future citizens, owe the state? How can children be prepared to participate in collectively shaping society if they have not received an education in how to deliberate about choices?

To this some parents might respond that they are not interested in having their children focus on participation, or perhaps on anything secular. What these parents appreciate about liberal democracy is that there is a clear, and firm, separation between public and private, and they seek to focus exclusively on the private.

Citizenship offers protections of the law, and it does not require participation. Liberal democracy certainly will not force one to participate. However much critical thinking plays in democratic character, active participation requires something more than mere skills, even thinking skills. Coleman to refer to the value that is inherent in social networks see, e.

The political scientist Robert Putnam subsequently argued that democracies function well in proportion to the strength of their social capital and that social capital is declining in the United States It is the use--or ability to use--social networks to address common problems, such as crime. Sampson finds that the level of collective efficacy strongly predicts the quality of life in communities Sampson, If governments and communities function much better when people have social networks and use them for public purposes, then civic education becomes important and it is substantially about teaching people to create, appreciate, preserve, and use social networks.

A pedagogical approach like Service Learning see below might be most promising for that purpose. These problems are endemic and serious, sometimes leading to environmental catastrophe and war. Ostrom, however, discovered many principles that allow people to overcome such problems. These are questions that have continued to engage not only political philosophers and politicians; they are questions that do or should engage every thoughtful citizen.

The five questions are: I. What are civic life, politics, and government? What are the foundations of the American political system? What are the roles of citizens in American democracy? The choice of question format as a means of organizing the knowledge component was deliberate. Democracy is a dialogue, a discussion, a deliberative process in which citizens engage. The use of questions is intended to indicate that the process is never-ending, is an on-going marketplace of ideas, a search for new and better ways to realize democracy's ideals.

It is important that everyone has an opportunity to consider the essential questions about government and civil society that continue to challenge thoughtful people. Addressing the first organizing question "What are civic life, politics, and government? Consideration of this question should promote greater understanding of the nature and importance of civil society or the complex network of freely formed, voluntary political, social, and economic associations which is an essential component of a constitutional democracy.

A vital civil society not only prevents the abuse or excessive concentration of power by government; the organizations of civil society serve as public laboratories in which citizens learn democracy by doing it. The second organizing question "What are the foundations of the American political system? This question promotes examination of the values and principles expressed in such fundamental documents as the Declaration of Independence, the U.

Study of the nation's core documents now is mandated by several states including California, Ohio, South Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky. Commission on Immigration, , strongly recommended attention to the nation's founding documents saying: Civic instruction in public schools should be rooted in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution particularly the Preamble, the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment. Emphasizing the ideals in these documents is in no way a distortion of U. Instruction in the history of the United States, as a unique engine of human liberty notwithstanding its faults, is an indispensable foundation for solid civics training for all Americans.

Knowledge of the ideals, values, and principles set forth in the nation's core documents serves an additional and useful purpose. Those ideals, values, and principles are criteria which citizens can use to judge the means and ends of government, as well as the means and ends of the myriad groups that are part of civil society.

The third organizing question "How does the government established by the Constitution embody the purposes, values, and principles of American democracy? Citizens who understand the justification for this system of limited, dispersed, and shared power and its design are better able to hold their governments local, state, and national accountable and to ensure that the rights of individuals are protected. They also will develop a considered appreciation of the place of law in the American political system, as well as of the unparalleled opportunities for choice and citizen participation that the system makes possible.

The fourth organizing question "What is the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs? To make judgments about the role of the United States in the world today and about what course American foreign policy should take, citizens need to understand the major elements of international relations and how world affairs affect their own lives, and the security and well being of their communities, state, and nation. Citizens also need to develop a better understanding of the roles of major international governmental and non governmental organizations, because of the increasingly significant role that they are playing in the political, social, and economic realms.

The final organizing question "What are the roles of citizens in American democracy? Citizenship in a constitutional democracy means that each citizen is a full and equal member of a self governing community and is endowed with fundamental rights and entrusted with responsibilities. Citizens should understand that through their involvement in political life and in civil society, they can help to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods, communities, and nation.

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If they want their voices to be heard, they must become active participants in the political process. Although elections, campaigns, and voting are central to democratic institutions, citizens should learn that beyond electoral politics many participatory opportunities are open to them. Finally, they should come to understand that the attainment of individual goals and public goals tend to go hand in hand with participation in political life and civil society.

They are more likely to achieve personal goals for themselves and their families, as well as the goals they desire for their communities, state, and nation, if they are informed, effective, and responsible citizens. Civic Skills: Intellectual and Participatory The second essential component of civic education in a democratic society is civic skills.

If citizens are to exercise their rights and discharge their responsibilities as members of self-governing communities, they not only need to acquire a body of knowledge such as that embodied in the five organizing questions just described; they also need to acquire relevant intellectual and participatory skills. Intellectual skills in civics and government are inseparable from content. To be able to think critically about a political issue, for example, one must have an understanding of the issue, its history, its contemporary relevance, as well as command of a set of intellectual tools or considerations useful in dealing with such an issue.

The intellectual skills essential for informed, effective, and responsible citizenship sometimes are called critical thinking skills. The National Standards for Civics and Government and the Civics Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP categorize these skills as identifying and describing; explaining and analyzing; and evaluating, taking, and defending positions on public issues.

A good civic education enables one to identify or give the meaning or significance of things that are tangible such as the flag, national monuments, or civic and political events. It also enables one to give the meaning or significance of intangibles, such as ideas or concepts including patriotism, majority and minority rights, civil society, and constitutionalism. The ability to identify emotional language and symbols is of particular importance for citizens.

They need to be able to discern the true purposes for which emotive language and symbols are being employed. Another intellectual skill which good civic education fosters is that of describing. The ability to describe functions and processes such as legislative checks and balances or judicial review is indicative of understanding. Discerning and describing trends, such as participation in civic life, immigration, or employment helps the citizen fit current events into a longer term pattern. Good civic education seeks to develop competence in explaining and analyzing. If citizens can explain how something should work, for example the American federal system, the legal system, or the system of checks and balances, they will be more able to detect and help correct malfunctions.

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Citizens also need to be able to analyze such things as the components and consequences of ideas, social, political, or economic processes, and institutions. The ability to analyze enables one to distinguish between fact and opinion or between means and ends. It also helps the citizen to clarify responsibilities such as those between personal and public responsibilities or those between elected or appointed officials and citizens. In a self-governing society citizens are decision-makers. They need, therefore, to develop and continue to improve their skills of evaluating, taking, and defending positions.

These skills are essential if citizens are to assess issues on the public agenda, to make judgments about issues and to discuss their assessment with others in public or private. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge and intellectual skills, education for citizenship in a democratic society must focus on skills that are required for informed, effective, and responsible participation in the political process and in civil society. Those skills can be categorized as interacting, monitoring, and influencing. Interacting pertains to the skills citizens need to communicate and to work cooperatively with others.

To interact is to be responsive to one's fellow citizens. To interact is to question, to answer, and to deliberate with civility, as well as to build coalitions and to manage conflict in a fair, peaceful manner. Monitoring politics and government refers to the skills citizens need to track the handling of issues by the political process and by government. Monitoring also means the exercising of oversight or "watchdog" functions on the part of citizens. Finally, the participatory skill of influencing refers to the capacity to affect the processes of politics and governance, both the formal and the informal processes of governance in the community.

It is essential that the development of participatory skills begins in the earliest grades and that it continues throughout the course of schooling. The youngest pupils can learn to interact in small groups or committees, to pool information, exchange opinions or formulate plans of action commensurate with their maturity. They can learn to listen attentively, to question effectively, and to manage conflicts through mediation, compromise, or consensus-building. Older students can and should be expected to develop the skills of monitoring and influencing public policy.

They should learn to research public issues using electronic resources, libraries, the telephone, personal contacts, and the media. Attendance at public meetings ranging from student councils to school boards, city councils, zoning commissions, and legislative hearings ought to be a required part of every high school student's experience.

Observation of the courts and exposure to the workings of the judicial system also ought to be a required part of their civic education. Observation in and of itself is not sufficient, however. Students not only need to be prepared for such experiences, they need well planned, structured opportunities to reflect on their experiences under the guidance of knowledgeable and skillful mentors.

If citizens are to influence the course of political life and the public policies adopted, they need to expand their repertoire of participatory skills. Voting certainly is an important means of exerting influence; but it is not the only means. Citizens also need to learn to use such means as petitioning, speaking, or testifying before public bodies, joining ad-hoc advocacy groups, and forming coalitions. Like the skills of interacting and monitoring, the skill of influencing can and should be systematically developed. Civic Dispositions: Essential Traits of Private and Public Character The third essential component of civic education, civic dispositions, refers to the traits of private and public character essential to the maintenance and improvement of constitutional democracy.

Civic dispositions, like civic skills, develop slowly over time and as a result of what one learns and experiences in the home, school, community, and organizations of civil society. Those experiences should engender understanding that democracy requires the responsible self governance of each individual; one cannot exist without the other. Traits of private character such as moral responsibility, self discipline, and respect for the worth and human dignity of every individual are imperative. Traits of public character are no less consequential.

Such traits as public spiritedness, civility, respect for the rule of law, critical mindedness, and willingness to listen, negotiate, and compromise are indispensable to democracy's success. Civic dispositions that contribute to the political efficacy of the individual, the healthy functioning of the political system, a sense of dignity and worth, and the common good were identified in the National Standards for Civics and Government.

The importance of civic dispositions, or the "habits of the heart," as Alexis de Toqueville called them, can scarcely be overemphasized. The traits of public and private character that undergird democracy are, in the long run, probably of more consequence than the knowledge or skills a citizen may command. Judge Learned Hand, in a speech made in New York in , captured the centrality of civic dispositions in his now famous words: Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.

While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. Many institutions help develop citizens' knowledge and skills and shape their civic character and commitments. Family, religious institutions, the media, and community groups exert important influences.

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Schools, however, bear a special and historic responsibility for the development of civic competency and civic responsibility. Schools fulfill that responsibility through both formal and informal education beginning in the earliest years and continuing through the entire educational process. Formal Instruction Formal instruction in civics and government should provide a basic and realistic understanding of civic life, politics, and government.

It should familiarize students with the constitutions of the United States and the state in which they live, because these and other core documents are criteria which can be used to judge the means and ends of government. Formal instruction should enable citizens to understand the workings of their own and other political systems, as well as the relationship of the politics and government of their own country to world affairs. Good civic education promotes an understanding of how and why one's own security, quality of life, and economic position is connected to that of neighboring countries, as well as to major regional, international, and transnational organizations.

Formal instruction should emphasize the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a constitutional democracy. The Declaration of Independence, which many consider to be an extended preamble to the United States Constitution, holds that governments are instituted to secure the rights of citizens. Instruction about rights should make it clear that few rights can be considered absolute. Rights may reinforce or conflict with one another or with other values and interests and therefore require reasonable limitations.

The rights of liberty and equality, for example, or the rights of the individual and the common good often conflict with one another. It is very important, therefore, that citizens develop a framework for clarifying ideas about rights and the relationships among rights and other values and interests. This framework then can provide a basis for making reasoned decisions about the proper scope and limits of rights. Formal instruction in civics and government should be no less attentive to the responsibilities of citizens in a constitutional democracy.

An understanding of the importance of individual rights must be accompanied by an examination of personal and civic responsibilities. For American democracy to flourish, citizens not only must be aware of their rights, they must also exercise them responsibly and they must fulfill those personal and civic responsibilities necessary to a self-governing, free, and just society. Instruction about responsibilities should make it clear that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Responsibilities are the other half of the democratic equation.

A sense of personal responsibility and civic obligation are in fact the social foundations on which individual rights and freedoms ultimately rest. The Informal Curriculum In addition to the formal curriculum, good civic education is attentive to the informal curriculum.

The informal curriculum encompasses the governance of the school community and the relationships among those within it, as well as the "extra" or co-curricular activities that a school provides. The importance of the governance of the school community and the quality of the relationships among those within it can scarcely be overemphasized. Classroom and schools should be managed by adults who govern in accord with democratic values and principles, and who display traits of character, private and public, that are worthy of emulation.

Students also should be held accountable for behaving in accord with fair and reasonable standards and for respecting the rights and dignity of others, including their peers. Research has consistently demonstrated the positive effects of co-curricular activities. Students who participate in them are more motivated to learn, more self confident, and exhibit greater leadership capabilities. Further, a major new survey, the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health , has found that "connectedness with school" is a significant protective factor in the lives of young people.

Some activities have become regional or national events such as mock elections, mock trials, and History Day. Two nation-wide programs developed by the Center for Civic Education have now involved more than 26 million students. We the People The Citizen and the Constitution engages students in mock legislative hearings on constitutional issues, and Project Citizen teaches middle school students how to identify, research, and devise solutions for local problems, as well as how to make realistic plans for gaining their acceptance as public policies.

Both We the People During the Spring of , Professor Richard A. Brody of Stanford University conducted a study of 1, high school students from across the United States. The study was designed to determine the degree to which civics curricula in general and the We the People The study focused on the concept of "political tolerance.

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It is a concept which encompasses many of the beliefs, values, and attitudes that are essential in a constitutional democracy. Community service is another area of the curriculum in which increasing numbers of students are participating. Community service is in keeping with long established American traditions.

It was more than a century and a half ago that Alexis de Toqueville was moved to write that "Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition in life, are forever forming associations.