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Preparing Students for Democratic Life: The Rediscovery of Education’s Civic Purpose

From: The Journal of General Education
Volume 62, Number 4, 2013
pp. 258-276 | 10.1353/jge.2013.0026



This essay explores why, despite repeated affirmations of the importance of civic education in undergraduate education, preparing students to understand and play an active role in democratic life is, for the most part, a marginal and episodic part of the undergraduate experience. After describing various factors that have contributed to its marginal status, we examine emerging understandings of how civic education can be done effectively. In the essay’s final section, we describe the main features of the civic curriculum we are developing and how it can be used to develop the ideals and practices of education for democratic life.

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