Civic education conducive to a more democratic America

October 23, 2008

Stanford, CA - October 23, 2008 - Successful democracies depend on an informed, thoughtful, and engaged electorate. However, social scientific research shows the American electorate to be poorly informed and often disengaged. In an article in the 2008 Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Eamonn Callan contends that civic education in America nonetheless has an important role to play in mitigating these civic vices.

There exists a "democratic elitist" theory that says we should not worry about the ignorance and disengagement of ordinary citizens. However, the problem with that theory is that it assumes rashly that unaccountable elites will rule in the interests of the rest of society.

Callan worries both about the unwarranted trust in the capacity of elites to protect democracy and the abandonment of hope in the capacity of citizens. Instead, he argues for "rational social hope" in which teachers can educate in ways that promote civic virtue.

Teachers, journalists, political activists, and the like must commit to helping to create a citizenry whose self-government is adequately grounded in relevant information, understanding, and civic virtue.

"All citizens who care about good government have to care about the competence and commitment of their fellow citizens," Callan notes. "We should care about the education that would support the necessary competence and commitment."
-end-
This study is published in the Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Eamonn Callan is affiliated with Stanford University and can be reached for questions at ecallan@suse.stanford.edu.

The National Society for the Study of Education (NSSE) was founded in 1901 and began publishing its annual Yearbook the following year. Each volume of the Yearbook examines a separate topic of concern to educators from multiple perspectives. With knowledgeable scholars and practitioners as contributing authors and editors, the Yearbook is a reliable and authoritative source of information on timely educational issues. Some Yearbooks have become landmark publications, and contributors rank among the most prominent and influential scholars and leaders of education in the United States and the world.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.

Wiley

Related Education Articles from Brightsurf:

Applying artificial intelligence to science education
A new review published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching highlights the potential of machine learning--a subset of artificial intelligence--in science education.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

How can education researchers support education and public health and institutions during COVID-19?
As education researchers' ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

The new racial disparity in special education
Racial disparity in special education is growing, and it's more complex than previously thought.

Education may be key to a healthier, wealthier US
A first-of-its-kind study estimate the economic value of education for better health and longevity.

How education may stave off cognitive decline
Prefrontal brain regions linked to higher educational attainment are characterized by increased expression of genes involved in neurotransmission and immunity, finds a study of healthy older adults published in JNeurosci.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.

Read More: Education News and Education Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.