| Updated: December 12, 2018

Citizen Z: An Education Week Project

Teaching Civics in a Divided Nation


Illustration: Stephanie Shafer for Education Week

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U.S. public education is rooted in the belief by early American leaders that the most important knowledge to impart to young people is what it means to be a citizen. If America is experiencing a civic crisis now, as many say it is, schools may well be failing at that job.


To better understand the role of education in the current crisis, Education Week has undertaken a long-term investigation with support from the Education Writers Association’s Reporting Fellowship grant program. We brought together an advisory group of experts in civic education, visited classrooms, and conducted surveys. The first results of that work follow.







Is the Time Right to Make Education a Constitutional Right?

Is the Time Right to Make Education a Constitutional Right?

December 11, 2018

The odds may be long for a newly filed lawsuit that asserts students have a Constitutional right to civics learning, but some experts say the timing is spot on.









Students Learn to Put the 'Civil' in Civil Discourse

Students Learn to Put the 'Civil' in Civil Discourse

November 27, 2018

In an age of political divisiveness, teachers are finding new ways to teach students how to have calm, reasoned discussions about hot-button issues.









Lessons on U.S. Constitution Find New Relevance

Lessons on U.S. Constitution Find New Relevance

November 27, 2018

Is the current political climate rekindling interest in teaching about the U.S. Constitution? That's what some civics teachers, law experts, and leaders of national groups are saying.









'It's Like a High School Girl Fight': Talking Politics With Students After Election Day

'It's Like a High School Girl Fight': Talking Politics With Students After Election Day

November 8, 2018

In two AP Government classes in Winchester, Va., students are more interested in results from local races than in Donald Trump, but they’re pumped to be part of the electoral process.









The Midterm Elections in the Classroom: Why They Matter, and How Teachers Are Preparing

The Midterm Elections in the Classroom: Why They Matter, and How Teachers Are Preparing

November 1, 2018

In the kickoff of a blog series leading up to the midterm elections, Curriculum Matters explore how one teacher approached the topic of ballot initiatives.








How History Class Divides Us

How History Class Divides Us

October 23, 2018

What if the inability of Americans to agree on our shared history—and on the right way to teach it—is a cause of our current polarization and political dysfunction, rather than a symptom?









Data: Most States Require History, But Not Civics

Data: Most States Require History, But Not Civics

October 23, 2018

High school students spend far more time in school learning about America’s history than they do learning about its civic values, according to a 50-state survey by Education Week.









Citizen Activists Push to Revise History Textbooks

Citizen Activists Push to Revise History Textbooks

October 23, 2018

History-minded residents of Charlotte County, Fla., are among the first to test a state law that permits citizens to challenge the curriculum taught in their schools.