In the News
May 23, 2023

We Hit Rock Bottom on Civics Education. Can we Turn it Around?

Danielle Allen
Washington Post

New national educational test results revealed a further erosion of students' knowledge in U.S. history and civics.

According to Danielle Allen, Academy member and cochair of the Academy's Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, this story isn’t just about students’ loss of knowledge. It’s also about their loss of connection to this country.

"The deepest truth of this work is that you can’t have a democracy unless people want one," Allen writes. "And right now, the kids don’t particularly want a democracy. This means that we are failing at one of our greatest responsibilities: generational succession. Rebooting civic education is about refurbishing and regifting an inheritance."

Allen is encouraged by a number of ongoing initiatives to reboot civic education, including the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap, which she worked on as a principal author and investigator. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Education Department, the road map is designed to achieve excellence in history and civics learning for all K-12 learners,

Strategy 6 of the Our Common Purpose report centers on inspiring a culture of commitment to American constitutional democracy and one another and includes calls for investments in civic educators and civic education.

View full story: Washington Post



Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship

Danielle Allen, Stephen B. Heintz, and Eric P. Liu