These criteria identify high quality practice that align with the Civic Mission of Schools report six recommended civic education approaches.  

Suggested criteria draw on standards documents, best practice guidelines, and research literature relevant to the broad challenge of educating for democracy.

Educating for democracy prepares students who:

  • Are informed and thoughtful about public and community issues, reflecting a grasp and appreciation of history and the fundamental processes of American democracy
  • Participate in their communities through various civic, religious, cultural, and social associations and venues
  • Act politically, seeking to solve problems on behalf of the public good through accessing a variety of skills, venues, and modes for public participation
  • Understand the opportunities and challenges of democratic self-government
  • Possess an array of moral and civic virtues

High quality educational programming for democracy:

  • Helps students acquire civic knowledge, skills, and/or dispositions (see associated civic competency grid)
  • Fosters students’ commitment to be civically informed, aware, and connected
  • Promotes students’ active engagement in civic life
  • Is mindful of students’ developmental abilities
  • Helps students make connections between acquired civic learning and their personal actions, values, and responsibilities
  • Infuses civic learning throughout the school curriculum and school culture
  • Links civic practice with education standards and policy on the school, district, state, and/or federal level, when appropriate and feasible
  • Identifies, promotes understanding of, and potentially seeks to redress social and civic problems on the local, state, national, and/or global level
  • Articulates clear civic learning outcomes and aligns program “inputs” with these outcomes

High quality civic education pedagogy:

  • Utilizes active learning methods and experiences
  • Moves beyond rote memorization and recitation of facts as the sole teaching method
  • Encourages verbal and written reflection to reinforce learning
  • Develops student voice, initiative, and leadership
  • Seeks collaboration with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and a broad array of community partners in order to build school-community connections
  • Includes assessment of student outcomes

High quality civic education supports include:

  • Teachers knowledgeable about civic education subject matter and active learning strategies
  • Democratic school and classroom management, culture, and governance
  • Continuous civic learning experiences across the curriculum
  • School, district, and state-level policies and standards that support civic learning

Website made possible by generous funding from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools is a Project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania.