1st Edition

The Future of Civic Education Rebuilding a Democracy in Ruins

Edited By Elizabeth Yeager Washington, Keith C. Barton Copyright 2025
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Speaking to the need to move beyond traditional formulations, this textbook presents radical visions for transforming civic education in the United States.

    Drawing on the experience of educators and scholars—including those rooted in feminist, queer, abolitionist, global, and race-conscious perspectives—this work offers new, practical ideas for civic education reform. Responding to recent political crises, many scholars, educators, and public commentators have called for a rebirth of civic education, but these all are grounded in the premise that the goal of civic education should be to teach students about the U.S. Constitutional system and how to operate within it. This book argues that the U.S. governmental system, including the Constitution, is infused with racist and anti-democratic premises and procedures. It asks: How can we seek a new path – one that is more democratic, more equitable, and more humane? A diverse range of leading civic educators, who are willing not just to push the boundaries of civic education but to operate outside its assumptions altogether, explore what future possibilities for civic education might look like and how these innovative ideas could be implemented in the classroom.

    Combining theory with practice, The Future of Civic Education will be important reading for those studying or researching in Social Studies Methods, Social Studies Issues, Citizenship, and Civic Education. It will also be beneficial to social studies teachers at elementary and secondary levels, as well as policymakers and NGOs.

    1. Replacing Civic Education Elizabeth Yeager Washington and Keith C. Barton 2. Make America great? Teach a humanistic and conscious history LaGarrett King 3. Renewing democracy: Cultivating mutuality from the ground up Jennifer Hauver 4. Postcolonial and development approaches to civic education for a more just curriculum Kathryn E. Engebretson 5. In love and rage: A manifesto for queer utopian, abolitionist, and anarchist civic education Alexandria Hollett 6. Reorienting civic education: Global comparative explorations of ‘wicked problems’ Li-Ching Ho 7. We all we got: Black teachers guiding Black students through civic estrangement Kristen Duncan 8. Civic education in a backsliding democracy: ‘More civics’ is not the answer Alex Cuenca 9. Cosmic consciousness’ curriculum: Some dreams and possibilities Jillian Ford


    Elizabeth Yeager Washington is Professor and Coordinator of Secondary Education and Social Studies Education at The University of Florida, USA. Her research focuses on civic education, democratic citizenship education, and the teaching of difficult history and controversial issues.

    Keith C. Barton is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University, USA. His research focuses on teaching, learning, and curriculum in history and social studies in the United States and internationally. He is co-author, with Li-Ching Ho, of Curriculum for Justice and Harmony: Deliberation, Knowledge, and Action in Social and Civic Education (Routledge).

    "Elizabeth Washington and Keith Barton have engaged the collective wisdom of a diverse band of social studies scholars who expose the hypocrisy and multi-layered shortcomings of civic education. Contributing authors challenge scholars, teachers, and the social studies field to actively confront and work against the politics of rage, racial trauma, nationalism, and Black estrangement –among other social ills – while simultaneously envisioning reimagined enactments of civic education that could possibly restore our embattled democracy."
    J.B. Mayo, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Minnesota, USA

    "This eclectic collection presents visionary conceptions of civic education and embodies the aims of critical consciousness, truth and reconciliation, global citizenship, empathy, anarchy, racial healing, and future-building. The chapters offer hopeful and transformative ideas for curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom relationships in response to despair over the political crises of our time. To engage with ideas about how the field might be transformed, this is the book to read."
    Judy Pace, Professor, School of Education, University of San Francisco, USA