What We’re Reading

Happy New Year! Every few weeks, GC picks out a selection of articles that are relevant to our work and to the civics education space as a whole. We at GC love to expand our learning in every aspect of what we do, and we hope you enjoy our selections!

Teaching Civics in a Hyperpartisan Climate, Education Week
This piece explores how the “moribund state of civics education” presents an opportunity to think about how civics can better shape engaged young citizens, and presents Action Civics as an effective solution. (Note: This link may show a different article at the top of the page. If so, scroll down for “Teaching Civics in a Hyperpartisan Climate.”)

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does, Vox
This visual, interactive piece showcases new data that demonstrates how school attendance zone boundaries are often gerrymandered to place white students in schools even whiter than the neighborhoods they live in, creating schools that are as segregated as they were 50 years ago. But, this strategy can also be used to create boundaries that integrate schools and reduce the effects of residential segregation. Select your state and school district from the menu, and see how the school attendance zones in your district either reinforce or reduce underlying residential segregation.

The U.S. needs to create civic social networks, TechCrunch
In this op-ed, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) discusses the challenges he and other elected officials face in using social media to engage with constituents in the face of high volumes of politicized, paid advertising and misinformation. He explains the differences between government and politics (the reason elected officials have two profiles on every social network), and calls for new innovation to create platforms that allow for “idea-based debate in a space where money doesn’t overwhelm and distort the process.”

To Renew Our Democracy, Get Back To The Core, Forbes
This piece reviews the new book Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practice through a conversation with its author. The work combines history and political theory to explore what democracy meant before liberalism and draws insight for modern times. Five key themes emerge, including an understanding that “the road to renewal must be built with hands-on civic education.”

Focused on Civic Engagement, Norman Transcript
This article profiles a Generation Citizen student from Dimensions Academy in Oklahoma, who dropped out of school before finding a learning environment that suited him at Dimensions, becoming a leader in his class’s action civics project on police community relations, and ultimately winning the Change Maker Award at Civics Day.