CIRCLE director Peter Levine contributes a chapter entitled “Education for a Civil Society”; he argues that American schools already teach the formal US system of government reasonably well, but we need youth to learn to participate in civil society.
The other authors explore the civic development of adolescents from a variety of perspectives (they span a broad ideological spectrum but avoid predictable positions), and they consider the most significant subtopics, e.g., Michael Johanek on the history of civics and the traditional importance of school/community partnerships, Meira Levinson on diversity and civic education, Keith Barton on civics in ed. schools, Joe Kahne and colleagues on digital learning, Diana Hess on professional development for teachers, and Dave Campbell on private and religious schools–to name just some.
CIRCLE colleagues are well represented among the authors: Kahne, Levinson, and Hess are current members of the CIRCLE advisory board; James Youniss, Richard G. Niemi, and Dave Campbell are former grantees and frequent collaborators; and Anna Roseksky Saavedra is an alumna of the Summer Institute of Civic Studies. Founding CIRCLE director Bill Galston says, “This collection of state-of-the-art essays advances the discussion of civics from noble aspiration to empirical evidence and pedagogical practice. The authors, all noted scholars, have shown us how to improve civic education and—in the process—how to strengthen our democracy. It’s time for policymakers to pay attention.”