Call For Civic Learning

Glenn Ricketts

That’s the title of this piece posted today over at IHE, announcing the release of a new report tasking American higher education with bolstering “civic learning and democratic engagement.” The report, A Crucible Moment, was commissioned in 2010 by the US Department of Education, prepared by the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, and is being presented today at the White House.

You can access the full text here. Do have a look. In the minds of the authors, “civic engagement” is important enough to be integrated through the entire curriculum, not confined to a single course or left as optional.

Your reaction will depend on how you understand “civic learning” and “democratic engagement.” I’d like to think that I promote those very things in my American Government and Politics course. Students should indeed know who their legislative representatives at all levels of government are, how the president is elected, that it is Congress and not the President which has the power to declare war, that car insurance rates are not set by the federal government, etc. They should also have a good basic grasp of American history, some comparative perspective with other political systems and how democracies survive or perish.

But given the current lopsided ideological imbalance in the academy, and the report’s frequent references to “systemic change,” “social justice,” and “global interdependence,” I’m pretty sure what “civic engagement” is likely to consist of on most campuses. It doesn’t much resemble my approach.

  • Share

Most Commented

March 16, 2022

1.

Exclusive: Association of American Medical Colleges to Propose DEI Curriculum Standards

The Association of American Medical Colleges plans to release “diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies” that will force students and faculty to embrace social justice......

November 24, 2021

2.

1619 Again: Revisiting the Project's Troubled Past

New York Times editor Jake Silverstein's new essay on the 1619 Project attempts to glide past the awkwardness that accompanied the project’s early days. Let's set the reco......

May 12, 2022

3.

Mornin’ Ralph, Mornin’ Sam in Anthropology Today

Professor Lowrey recounts her latest encounter with academic cancel culture, this time with an acceptance-turned-rejection at Anthropology Today....

Most Read

April 5, 2022

1.

How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?

UPDATED: We're keeping track of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, including those that remain open, those that closed, and those that have announced their closing....

May 15, 2015

2.

Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010

3.

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...