Educating for American Democracy Public Comment on Dept. of Education Civic Regulation

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Members of Educating for American Democracy critique proposed U.S. Department of Education regulations that would promote “culturally responsive teaching” in civic education, finding that two requirements would need to be changed in order to gain their support. EAD recommends teaching both positive and negative aspects of U.S. history as well as teaching students to debate controversial issues utilizing the virtues of civil disagreement and civic friendship.

In a review of recently proposed U.S. Department of Education regulations that would promote “culturally responsive teaching” in civic education, lead participants of Educating for American Democracy find that the following two requirements would need to be modified in order to be consistent with the goals of the Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy:

  • “Take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.”
  • “Incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives and perspectives on the experience of individuals with disabilities.”

While historic wrongs in American history need to be addressed in the classroom, EAD members argue that “positive visions of democratic possibility and constitutional self-government” need to be highlighted as well. A Lincolnian “new birth of freedom” that “corrects and completes the promise of America's founding ideals” should be the “central” interpretative lens through which the history and development of American constitutional democracy is explored.

EAD also recommends the addition of a sixth requirement that would incorporate student learning through civil debate and dialogue on controversial issues.

Read the full comment here.