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Restoring Civic Attachment in Our Young People

AEI Report: High Schools, Civics, and Citizenship

High Schools, Civics, and Citizenship
What Social Studies Teachers Think and Do

By Gary J. Schmitt, Frederick M. Hess, Steve Farkas, Ann M. Duffett, Cheryl Miller, Jenna M. Schuette
(September 29, 2010)

“History is who we are and why we are the way we are,” said David McCullough, perhaps America’s most celebrated popular historian. From a nation’s history, to its economic structure, politics, and constitutional order, a teacher can inspire appreciation or revulsion, mindless conformism or gratuitous agitation, boredom or wonder. Social studies teachers are uniquely positioned to frame and inform students’ outlook about the nation, to tell the story of who we are.

This study revolves around an essential question: what are teachers trying to teach our youth about citizenship and what it means to be an American? The findings are based on a national, random sample survey of 866 public high school social studies teachers, an oversample survey of 245 Catholic and private high school social studies teachers, and three focus groups. Social studies teachers are excellent sources of information for this type of research. They are in the trenches, and they can report not only on their own attitudes, priorities, and behaviors, but also on what is actually happening in high schools and school districts.

Read the executive summary.

Download Full Report as a PDF

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Press Release: New AEI survey on civic education

New AEI Report: DO AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLERS KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CITIZEN?

A SURVEY OF OVER 1,000 PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHERS SAYS NO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2010

Civics, once the cornerstone of public education, has fallen off the radar in the era of standardized testing. Teachers feel increasing pressure to show progress on student math and reading skills to the detriment of civic education. This is one of the many striking findings in a new report by the AEI Program on American Citizenship, a new initiative dedicated to strengthening the foundations of freedom and self-government by renewing the understanding of American citizenship.

The report, High Schools, Civics, and Citizenship: What Social Studies Teachers Think and Do, explores the views and practices of those most responsible for educating and shaping America’s young citizens–high school history and social studies teachers. It includes data gleaned from a survey of over 1,000 public and private high school teachers. Commissioned by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship, the survey was conducted by the Farkas Duffett Research Group. To see the full report, please visit the AEI website.

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