Released on March 1, “The Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy” write Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk and Sarah Schwartz, “center on the idea of ‘reflective patriotism,” meaning that “students should learn to feel committed to this country and the ideals it purports to represent while also questioning, critiquing, and holding the powerful to account when it fails to live up to those ideals,”
Reportedly, it’s a guide, not a list of standards or a curriculum. Instead, the two journalists go on to explain that it’s a framework designed to get kids involved in America’s history—the whole story, blemishes and all—and inspiring in them an “open-eyed patriotism” and appreciation.
Accordingly, key tenets include:
- Referring to America as a “constitutional democracy,” said to be a controversial choice.
- Offering two definitions of what it means to be a citizen, discussing the rights granted to those considered legal citizens, while offering up “the idea of a citizen as someone who contributes to a community, whatever their age or legal status”
- Teaching both traditional civics topics, such as voting and the structure of government, and ‘action civics,’ “exploring how people can identify issues that are important to them and make change,” according to Tuft University’s Peter Levine.
- Promoting “civic friendship,” meaning that disagreement strengthens our government and that we need to teach kids “to argue well and in good faith.”
- Balancing the American story with insights garnered from recent scholarly work, prioritizing the voices of working-class and indigenous people, women, and Blacks.
Looking back, moving forward, warts and all. All in favor say, “Aye;” all opposed say, “Nay.”
With my many thanks, Carol