The importance of civic learning and a vision of citizenship and social efficacy must become the staples of every American’s education, shared by higher education, K-12 schools, states and the federal government. In too many schools and on too many college campuses, courses and programs of study about the essence of a democracy and the importance of civic learning are peripheral to the core academic mission.
In late 2012, Under Secretary Martha Kanter had an opportunity to travel across the country visiting with educators and students that understand this challenge. While on the road, Dr. Kanter visited institutions such as Western Kentucky and Wright State, schools that are making strides toward placing civic education, service learning, public dialogue and debate, political participation and community service at the center of their mission to prepare all students for informed, engaged participation in the civic life of our nation.
There were numerous lessons to be learned from the professors, administrators, students and community members at these schools. The experiences they shared reinforced the work the Department of Education is doing through its Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative, and helped to underscore the broader efforts of civic learning advocates across our nation.
You can read more about Dr. Kanter’s trip and the vital importance of civic learning and engagement here.