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Teaching Citizenship in Charter Schools

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Charter schools provide an intriguing opportunity to rethink the role of public schools in preparing students to become informed and engaged participants in the American political system. As public schools of choice, charter schools are freed from many rules and regulations that can inhibit innovation and improvement. They can readily adopt best practices in civic education and encourage extracurricular activities to enhance civic learning. With their decentralized approach to administration, they can allow parents and students a far greater role in school governance than they would have in traditional public schools.

To better understand and advance the efforts of charter schools to teach citizenship, AEI’s Program on American Citizenship and its Education Policy Studies Program are working with a select group of “trendsetter” charter schools that seek to raise the bar for civic education. Building on our 2012 report, we commissioned a series of in-depth case studies exploring how top-performing charter schools have incorporated civic learning in their school curriculum and school culture. Profiled charters include Democracy Prep Public Schools, YES Prep Public Schools, UNO Charter Schools, National Heritage Academies, and Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy.

To learn more about our work, please contact Rebecca Burgess at [email protected].