Civic Education is a moving target. Many are desperate to define it.
- The CivXNow Coalition designed a civic education policy menu.
- The National Council for the Social Studies created a College, Career, and Civic (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.
- The Education Commission of the States released a guidebook on the 6 proven practices for effective civic learning.
We believe that to generate a lasting impact, Comprehensive Civic Education must integrate Heart, Head, and Body.
As noted in our Civic Ed Debates Series, the topic of what should be included in civic education has been heavily contested since America’s founding. Sitting around discussing what to include in a civics class misses the urgency of increasing political polarization and loss of trust in democracy.
Danielle Allen consistently reminds us that “The civics space has not been defined as an R&D space…[and we need to] rename it as such.”-Danielle Allen, Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
To this end, we are in the field seeing what works.
The need to start, test, assess, iterate, and refine is now.
We focus on middle and high schools because we believe that young people coming of age in America must be prepared to inherit democracy BEFORE they earn the right to vote, not just on the day they turn 18.
As such, we seek to create informed, invested, and inspired students by cultivating a culture of civic sensibility in the school environment. Currently, we focus on 1) educator training & professional development and 2) authentic student programming that yields a sense of civic belonging and builds problem-solving relationships across political, religious, economic, racial, and cultural silos.
Our goal is for civic education programs not only to resonate with the daily experiences and needs of our schools, but also to thrive–and endure–in any setting.
Our Methodology is rooted in a combination of:
- Heavily researched pedagogy regarding social-emotional learning and teacher performance improvement
- The just-get-out-there-and-start mentality of the Office of Innovation “think and do” tank
- An embedded evaluator and continuous improvement
Here is where we stand today. With guidance from our educators, we are in the process of generating a set of Shared Aims based on these 3 pillars for all Civic Spirit schools to aspire to achieve. Stay tuned.