Report

From a Civic Education to a Civic Learning Ecosystem
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Seeking to spark enthusiasm and engagement among funders who are interested in revitalizing our system of civic education, Rajiv VInnakota, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, today released the findings of a major research initiative he spearheaded examining the current state of civic education in America.

innakota and his research team reviewed leading research on civic education and social and emotional learning in schools and colleges; looked at civic education policies in all 50 states; attended conferences on civic education and/or democracy building; and also interviewed more than 100 experts who are engaged in civic education. The full report, as well as an interactive, open-source wiki for continuing to gather information of best and promising practice in the field, can be found at http://rbw.civic-learning.org/.

The report’s authors offered several important conclusions regarding the current state of civics education, including:

  • The hundreds of disparate organizations currently in the space express almost uniform consensus that the current system of civic education needs to be reimagined and rebuilt for the 21st century;
  • An improved system of civic education needs to be designed to produce citizens who are well-informed, productively engaged in working for the common good, and hopeful about our democracy.
  • The current focus on civic education needs to be expanded to look at civic learning, including interactions in families, community activities, online, and throughout k-12 and higher education.
  • The civic learning field must be developed, coordinating multiple organization and individuals around common goals and the conditions needed to succeed.
  • With so many funders, nonprofit organizations, companies, and community groups seeking to engage in civic learning efforts, collaboration is the only way forward to avoid the pitfalls new movements often face.