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Event Re-cap: Teaching America

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Missed today’s event on charter schools and civic education? See the summary below, and visit the event site for full video (and clips!).

At an event hosted today by the AEI Program on American Citizenship and the Civic Education Initiative, a panel of charter school leaders discussed how charter schools can help close the nation’s “civic achievement gap.” Robin Lake (Center on Reinventing Public Education) provided an overview of the state of civic education in the charter sector and outlined some of the diverse approaches charters are taking to civic education. Mike Feinberg (KIPP Schools) discussed his experiences at KIPP, stressing that civic education is important because charter schools are “not just about college, but about how to [provide] good lives” for students. Seth Andrew (Democracy Prep Public Schools) agreed and suggested that the Obama administration change its focus from “college and career” to “college and citizenship” because career is only one component of good citizenship. Juan Rangel (United Neighborhood Organization) highlighted the challenges of providing civic education to Hispanic immigrants and said schools should put greater emphasis on assimilation. Immigrants, he cautioned, “will assimilate, but without our guidance, they will assimilate in ways we don’t want them to.” The panelists also debated the link between civic knowledge and civic skills or dispositions (such as voting or community involvement), discussed ways to best engage disaffected and disadvantaged students and argued for the need for better metrics to measure students’ civic success.

And watch these terrific videos from our charter panelists:

Seth Andrew, Democracy Prep Public Schools
Inauguration Celebration in Harlem
Juan Rangel, United Neighborhood Organization
UNO Charter School Network Remembers 9/11