This collection on American democracy challenges and complements blog posts and opinion pieces that are typical staples of the 24/7 news cycle in the lead up to US elections. You'll find reports about election and campaign administration, voting access and participation, government performance and perceptions, the role of the media in civil society, and more.

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"VOTE!" by Paul Sableman licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Featured

Intergenerational Civic Learning: A Path Toward Revitalized Democracy

November 18, 2021

Generational divisions all too often mark political fault lines, but they can also catalyze mutual learning and democratic renewal. Civic intergenerationality is an approach to civic learning grounded in coming together across the life span to create a social and political reality that supports people of all ages. It operates under the assumption that all people are assets to our community, are capable of civic learning, and would benefit from it. By embracing the practice of civic intergenerationality, we can address America's ongoing civic crisis. We can create a community of lifelong, reciprocal learners that uplifts our youngest civic agents while leveraging the experiences and wisdom of older generations

Civic Participation

The State of Civics Education

February 21, 2018

The policy solution that has garnered the most momentum to improve civics in recent years is a standard that requires high school students to pass the U.S. citizenship exam before graduation. According to this analysis, 17 states have taken this path. Yet, critics of a mandatory civics exam argue that the citizenship test does nothing to measure comprehension of the material and creates an additional barrier to high school graduation. Other states have adopted civics as a requirement for high school graduation, provided teachers with detailed civics curricula, offered community service as a graduation requirement, and increased the availability of Advance Placement (AP) U. S. government classes. When civics education is taught effectively, it can equip students with the knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to become informed and engaged citizens. Educators must also remember that civics is not synonymous with history. While increasing history courses and service requirements are potential steps to augment students' background knowledge and skill sets, civics is a narrow and instrumental instruction that provides students with the agency to apply these skills. This analysis finds a wide variation in state requirements and levels of youth engagement. While this research highlights that no state currently provides sufficient and comprehensive civic education, there is reason to be optimistic that high-quality civics education can impact civic behavior.

Civic Participation

The Trump Effect: The Impact of The 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation's Schools

November 28, 2016

In the first days after the 2016 presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project administered an online survey to K-12 educators from across the country. Over 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools have responded. The survey data indicate that the results of the election are having a profoundly negative impact on schools and students. Ninety percent of educators report that school climate has been negatively affected, and most of them believe it will have a long-lasting impact. A full 80 percent describe heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families.

Civic Participation; Government

What Constitution Day Means and Why it Matters

September 4, 2014

Constitution Day offers an opportune time for students to explore the evolution of the founding document and examine its provisions for citizens' rights and rules of government.

Civic Participation

Charter Schools as Nation Builders: Democracy Prep and Civic Education

January 16, 2013

This policy brief is the first in a series of in-depth case studies exploring how top-performing charter schools have incorporated civic learning in their school curriculum and school culture. For more information about AEI's Program on American Citizenship.

Civic Participation

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools

January 1, 2011

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools, is an urgent call for action to restore the historic civic mission of our nation's schools. This new report provides research-based evidence of the decline in civic learning in American schools and presents six proven practices that should be at the heart of every school's approach to civic learning. It also provides recommendations for education policymakers to ensure every student acquires the civic skills and knowledge needed for an informed, engaged citizenry. This report builds and expands on the findings of the Civic Mission of Schools report, published in 2003 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. The report was produced by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics of the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania; the National Conference on Citizenship; the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning Engagement at Tufts University and the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association.

Civic Participation

Improving the Education of Tomorrow's Journalists

January 1, 2005

This McKinsey report captures the insights of many of the best and brightest of the current generation of news executives, editors and correspondents and bolstered the case for and strengthened the resolve of Vartan Gregorian and a few journalism deans to undertake a bold effort to reshape and reinvigorate the quality of education that journalism schools offer. With their guidance and the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the deans who comprise the Carnegie- Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education will share with fellow educators and the general public their blueprint for curricular reforms and other changes.

Media