The Educating for American Democracy initiative is a partnership among iCivics, the School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University to create the Roadmap for Excellence in History and Civic Education for all Learners – a practical and highly implementable guide about how to integrate history and civic education to give today’s diverse K-12 students a strong sense of connection to and ownership of our constitutional democracy.

WHY?

Our constitutional democracy is at a crossroads. We face deep polarization, dangerously low proportions of public understanding and trust of our institutions, and voter participation rates that are among the lowest of democratic systems. The relative neglect of civic education in the past half-century is one important cause of this civic and political dysfunction. This makes it imperative to invest in innovative approaches to civic education that can engage today’s diverse student populations and simultaneously motivate, enlighten, and equip them for effective and healthy participation. It is against this backdrop, and with the recognition that civic strength requires in-depth history and civic education for civic purpose, that our project was launched in fall 2019 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education.

WHAT?

The Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy lays out seven content themes and five design challenges to focus educator attention and effort and to provide a framework for a truly national and cross-state conversation about civic learning. The current landscape for history and civics education is highly fragmented, hindering the formation of larger and more impactful communities of practice. The nation’s educators could more effectively build the field of civic learning with a shared roadmap to assist navigation of curricular and instructional terrain. The themes are: Civic Participation; Our Changing landscapes; We, the People; A New Government & Constitution; Institutional & Social Transformation – A Series of Re-foundings?; A People in the World; and A People with Contemporary Debates & Possibilities.

The seven content themes encompass the material necessary to answer the questions of what it means to participate in American constitutional democracy, of how American constitutional democracy came to be, of the places and peoples of which it consists, of how shared political institutions emerged, have been transformed, and operate now, of the diverse array of benefits and harms that have been wrought by those institutions, of the place of the U.S. in the world more broadly, and of the ongoing debates that characterize contemporary American civic life, as well as the possibilities available to us now for concrete realization of our ideals.

The guidance focuses on the value of inquiry. The content of the themes is presented in the form of questions that should be explored over the course of a K-12 education. These questions are presented as driving questions supported by sample guiding questions. The driving questions are intended as a starting point for curricular design. The sample guiding questions are intended as examples of starting points for lessons or sequences of lessons.

The Roadmap is intended not as a curriculum but rather as a starting point for the design of state standards, curricula, and resources. What sorts of standards, curricula, and resources could help students explore the questions in the Roadmap? That is the question left for Departments of Education, curriculum designers, and resource creators. To give them parameters for their work, we have also articulated five design challenges. These bring to the fore the most challenging aspects of designing a history and civics curriculum and invite educators and practitioners to participate in a nationwide community of practice experimenting with finding solutions.

Our Roadmap addresses:

  • How to teach American history and civics in an integrated way

  • How to prioritize content essential to robust and authentic civic participation, including untold or seldom told stories in American history

  • How to address both the painful challenges and the remarkable achievements of our nation’s history and government

The draft Educating for American Democracy Roadmap for Excellence in History and Civic Education for all Learners consists of multiple resources:

  • A project brief and report narrative that set out the context and purpose of the project

    • Errata: This version of the report narrative contains an error on page 16 in paragraph 3. The sentence currently reads: “The Voting Rights Act of 1964 enshrined the general principle of one person, one vote, removing many barriers to African American voting…” The sentence should read: “The Voting Rights Act of 1965, together with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enshrined the general principle of one person, one vote, removing many barriers to African American voting…”

  • The Roadmap itself which consists of a set of design challenges and is centered around seven essential content themes

  • A pedagogy guide to support educators with selecting and sequencing instructional strategies and learning activities

  • Curated resources to illustrated how the Roadmap can be implemented in the classroom

  • Guidance regarding how to utilize the Roadmap to redraft state social studies standards and a crosswalk analysis between the Roadmap and current state standards in history and social studies

  • Policy recommendations and implementation guides to support the rebuilding of our teaching corps and ensure excellence in history and civic education for all learners

HOW?

Our leadership team began with the notion that developing prepared and engaged civic participants required a multi-faceted approach. We started by mapping existing state standards, identifying high priority content areas, and embracing – rather than avoiding – the complexities of American history and government, and the tensions that arise when teaching them. As the project moves towards dissemination, we will also work to advocate for policies that prioritize civics, build capacity for excellence in civic education, and ensure the Roadmap can be implemented in classrooms across the country by curating and developing resources.

At the core, we believe that integrative civics and history education should be relevant and authentic for students, meeting students where they are, while also acknowledging and learning from what they already know and understand about their communities and government. It is our hope that a richer and more rigorous education in civics and history will empower the next generation to act more effectively and wisely as citizen-leaders of our constitutional democracy.

WHO?

Our audiences for the Roadmap include:

  • State education leaders who will revise their frameworks or standards

  • School and district leadership designing curriculum

  • Curriculum administrators or specialists

  • Nonprofits and for profits that provide curricula, materials, and professional development

  • K-12 educators looking to teach history and civics in an effective and integrated way

  • Professors of education and pre-service institutions

  • Local, state, and federal policymakers wanting to strengthen civic learning

The Educating for American Democracy initiative involved a cross-partisan collaboration among hundreds of academics, historians, political scientists, K-12 educators, district administrators, civics providers, and others from across the country who assessed what is actually going on in classrooms and what research and policies tell us about effective American history and civic education to propose a new Roadmap for better modes of teaching and better attention to teaching of U.S. history and civics in an integrated way.

This initiative is led by the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Executive Committee – Danielle Allen of Harvard University, Paul Carrese of Arizona State University, Louise Dube of iCivics, Jane Kamensky of Harvard University, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg of CIRCLE, Peter Levine of Tufts University, Michelle Herczog of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Emma Humphries of iCivics, Adam Seagrave of Arizona State University, and Tammy Waller of the Arizona Department of Education – with support from:

  • Danielle Allen, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University

  • Tim Bailey, Director of Education, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

  • David Bobb, President, Bill of Rights Institute

  • Paul Carrese, Founding Director, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

  • Mary Ellen Daneels, Lead Teacher Mentor and Instructional Specialist, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

  • Sarah Drake Brown, Board Chair, National Council for History Education

  • Louise Dube, Executive Director, iCivics

  • Tom Gentzel, Former Executive Director and CEO, National School Boards Association

  • Jarvis Givens, Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education

  • Jim Grossman, Executive Director, American History Association

  • Jeremy Gypton, Teacher Programs Manager, Ashbrook Center at Ashland University

  • Michelle Herczog, History Social Science Consultant III, Los Angeles County School District – California

  • Emma Humphries, Chief Education Officer, iCivics

  • Joseph Kahne, Director, Civic Engagement Research Group at University of California Riverside

  • Jane Kamensky, Professor, Department of History at Harvard University & Director, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

  • Averill Kelley, Educator, Clark County School District – Nevada

  • Carrie Kotcho, A. James Clark Director of Education and Impact, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History

  • Peter Levine, Associate Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

  • Maria Marable Bunch, Associate Director of Museum Learning and Programs, Smithsonian Institute National Museum of the American Indian

  • Ace Parsi, Director of Innovation, National Center for Learning Disabilities

  • Larry Paska, Executive Director, National Council for the Social Studies

  • Donna Phillips, Director of Academic Innovations, DC Public Schools – Washington, DC

  • Allen Pratt, Executive Director, National Rural Education Association

  • Prisca Rodriguez, ELA/ELL Educator and ACCESS Chair, DC Public Schools – Washington, DC

  • Natacha Scott, Former K-12 Director of History and Social Studies, Boston Public Schools – Massachusetts

  • Adam Seagrave, Associate Professor, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

  • Rogers Smith, President, American Political Science Association

  • Adrienne Stang, K-12 History and Social Studies Coordinator, Cambridge Public Schools – Massachusetts

  • Alhassan Susso, Educator, International Community High School – New York

  • Laura Tavares, Program Director for Organizational Learning and Thought Leadership, Facing History and Ourselves

  • Tammy Waller, Director of K-12 Social Studies and World Languages, Arizona Department of Education

  • Kelly Whitney, Assistant Teaching Professor, Newhouse School at Syracuse University

  • Martha Barry McKenna, University Professor and Director, The Center for Creativity at Lesley University

  • Elizabeth Bennion, Professor and Campus Director for American Democracy Project, Indiana University South Bend

  • Laura W. Brill, Director, The Civics Center

  • Rich Cairn, Director of Emerging America, Collaborative for Educational Services

  • David E. Campbell, Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy, University of Notre Dame

  • Chester E. Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

  • Rosanna Fukuda, Educational Specialist for Social Studies, Hawaii State Department of Education

  • Abraham Goldberg, Executive Director, James Madison Center for Civic Engagement

  • Shawn P. Healy, Director of Democracy Program, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

  • Thomas Herman, Director, California Geographic Alliance

  • Joseph Kahne, Dutton Presidential Professor of Education Policy and Politics, Graduate School of Education, UC Riverside

  • Jill Lepore, Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law, Harvard University

  • Jane C. Lo, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

  • Martha Madsen, Executive Director, NH Institute for Civics Education

  • Maeva Marcus, Research Professor of Law and Director of Institute for Constitutional Studies, The George Washington University Law School

  • Stephen S. Masyada, Interim Executive Director, Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida

  • Elizabeth C. Matto, Associate Research Professor, Center for Youth Political Participation, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

  • Wendy May-Dreyer, Chair, Texas Civic Education Coalition

  • Ellen Middaugh, Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Development, Lurie College of Education, San Jose State University

  • Veronica Reyna, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Assoc. Chair of the Department of Government, Houston Community College

  • Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Professor, Towson University Honors College and Department of Political Science, Towson University Honors College and Department of Political Science

  • Dick Simpson, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Steven A. Steinbach, History Department, Sidwell Friends School – Washington, DC

  • J. Cherie Strachan, Professor of Political Science, Central Michigan University

  • Judith Torney-Purta, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland College Park

  • Janet Tran, Director of the Center for Civics, Education, and Opportunity, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute

  • Stefanie Wager, President, National Council for the Social Studies

  • Sherri L. Wallace, Professor, Department of Political Science at the University of Louisville

  • Andrew Wilkes, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, Generation Citizen
  • Valencia Abbott, Social Studies and History Educator, Rockingham Early College High School – North Carolina

  • Peter Adams, Senior Vice President of Education, News Literacy Project

  • Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Professor, Department of History at Rutgers University

  • Amanda Cobb-Greentham, Director of Native Nations Center, University of Oklahoma

  • Donald Critchlow, Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University

  • Allen Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar, Humanities Council & Director, Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship, James Madison Program in American Ideal and Institutions at Princeton University

  • Madeline Hsu, Professor, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin

  • Jane Kamensky, Professor, Department of History at Harvard University & Director, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Phil Mead, Curator, Museum of the American Revolution

  • Lincoln Mullen, Associate Professor, Department of History and Art History and Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University

  • David O’Connor, Education Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

  • George Sanchez, Director, Center for Democracy and Diversity at the University of Southern California

  • Paul Solarz, Educator, Westgate Elementary School – Illinois

  • Adrienne Stang, K-12 History and Social Studies Coordinator, Cambridge Public Schools – Massachusetts

  • Tammy Waller, Director of K-12 Social Studies and World Languages, Arizona Department of Education (Task Force Co-Chair)
  • Danielle Allen, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University

  • Rebecca Burgess, Research Fellow and Program Manager, Program on American Citizenship at American Enterprise Institute

  • David Bobb, President, Bill of Rights Institute

  • Meena Bose, Professor of Political Science, Hofstra University

  • Rosa Brooks, Professor of Law and Policy, Georgetown University Law Center

  • Cathy Cohen, Professor, Department of Political Science at University of Chicago

  • Marshall Croddy, President, Constitutional Rights Foundation

  • Sharif El-Mekki, Director, Center for Black Educator Development

  • Michelle Herczog, History Social Science Coordinator III, Los Angeles County School District – California (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Joe Kahne, Director, Civic Engagement Research Group at University of California Riverside

  • David Leal, Professor, Department of Government at University of Texas Austin

  • Peter Levine, Associate Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

  • Frank Pisi, Director of History-Social Science, Sacramento County Office of Education – California

  • Cathy Ruffing, Senior Director of Teacher Professional Development Programs and Curriculum, Street Law

  • Adam Seagrave, Associate Professor, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Rogers Smith, President, American Political Science Association

  • Jim Stoner, Professor, Eric Voegelin Institute at Louisiana State University

  • Aisha Vasquez Jackson, Director, East Tampa Academy – Florida
  • Tim Bailey, Director of Education, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

  • Kara Cisco, Educator, St. Louis Park High School – Minnesota

  • Ilene Berson, Area Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs, College of Education University of South Florida

  • Mary Ellen Daneels, Lead Teacher Mentor and Instructional Specialist, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

  • Doug Dobson, Senior Fellow, Lou Frey Institute

  • Abby Pfisterer, Education Specialist, Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History

  • Kimberly Huffman, Educator, Wayne County Schools – Ohio

  • Emma Humphries, Chief Education Officer, iCivics (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Averill Kelley, Educator, Clark County School District – Nevada

  • Magdalena Mieri, Director of Special Initiatives and Program in Latino History and Culture, Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History

  • Daniel Osborn, Program Director, Primary Source

  • Ace Parsi, Director of Innovation, National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • Danielle Allen, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Desmond Blackburn, CEO, New Teacher Center

  • David Bobb, President, Bill of Rights Institute

  • David Buchanan, Director of Massachusetts Programs, iCivics

  • Paul Carrese, Founding Director, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

  • Leo Casey, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute

  • Louise Dube, Executive Director, iCivics (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Chester E. Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

  • Tom Gentzel, Former Executive Director and CEO, National School Boards Association

  • Rick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute (Task Force Co-Chair)

  • Robert Jagers, Vice President of Research, CASEL

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

  • Ace Parsi, Director of Innovation, National Center for Learning Disabilities

  • Larry Paska, Executive Director, National Council for the Social Studies

  • Donna Phillips, Director of Academic Innovations, DC Public Schools – Washington, DC

  • Allen Pratt, Executive Director, National Rural Education Association

  • Natacha Scott, Former K-12 Director of History and Social Studies, Boston Public Schools – Massachusetts

  • Stefanie Wager, President, National Council for the Social Studies

  • Tammy Waller, Director of K-12 Social Studies and World Languages, Arizona Department of Education
  • Tara Bartlett, Research Assistant

  • Kate Bermingham, Research Assistant

  • Amber Cruz Mohring, Owner and Lead Consultant, ACM Consulting

  • Abigail Dym, Research Assistant

  • Robert Fersh, President and Founder, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

  • Trudy Horsting, Research Assistant

  • Alexis Jones, Research Assistant

  • Patricia Leslie-Brown, Manager of CivXNow Projects, iCivics

  • Joshua Montgomery, Research Assistant

  • Matthew Nelsen, Research Assistant

  • Dylan O’Connor, Research Assistant

  • Peter Pellizzari, Research Assistant

  • Stacie Smith, Managing Director, Consensus Building Institute

In addition, hundreds of individuals attended stakeholder workshops that engaged individuals ranging from students, to educators and administrators, to policymakers and community leaders, and beyond.

E PLURIBUS UNUM

OUT OF MANY, ONE.

The award for this project was made by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with the U.S. Department of Education providing funding in the form of an interagency agreement. However, the content of this initiative does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Endowment for the Humanities, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.