November 18, 2015

Generation Citizen Releases “Educating for Democracy” Report

Paper Calls for the Urgent Need to Make Democracy Education a Vital Education Discipline


Today, Generation Citizen is releasing a comprehensive white paper entitled “Educating for Democracy,” which makes the case that every young person in this country should receive an effective democracy education, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to become informed and active civic actors and leaders.

The report is available here.

The Ford Foundation and Hewlett Foundation funded report was inspired by a January, 2015 convening, in which over 100 educators, practitioners, scholars, and young people came together to discuss why the current fragmented political climate necessitates a concerted effort to argue for the importance of democracy education as a vital discipline. The paper includes the following arguments:

    • Young people are engaged and want to make the world a better place, but do not see political engagement, or interacting with governmental institutions, as the way to do so.
    • But politics still matters. The only way that many of the crucial issues of our day- from inequality to immigration, will get solved is if young people get active politically.
    • There is a need to create a more comprehensive “Democracy Education” field, which includes both in-school civics education efforts, and out of school youth organizing. These disciplines have not traditionally worked together, but must to demonstrate the importance of young people engaging politically.
  • There needs to be a more explicit link between Democracy Education and the pressing issues affecting youth today. These include deepening racial inequalities, the rise of mass incarceration, over-policing, unjust disciplinary policies in schools,, the re-segregation of public education, and inequality of opportunity by race and gender in education and the labor market.

Overall, the paper hopes to make the case that civics, and democracy education, cannot be seen as a fringe discipline. We must establish democracy education as a discipline that young people in this country must receive as part of their individual development, and for the broader long-term success of this country.

The hope is that the paper catalyzes a conversation on the importance of youth political participation in a time in this country’s history when we need their perspectives more than ever.

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