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Team of 300 Researchers Releases The Roadmap To Educating For American Democracy, a Groundbreaking Initiative to Establish Goals for 21st Century History And Civic Education

March 2, 2021 GMT

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of more than 300 scholars, educators, and practitioners today released the Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy, an unprecedented effort to build excellence in civic and history education for all K-12 students.

The Roadmap, released against a backdrop of political polarization and increasing inequality threatening the country’s civic strength, provides a framework for innovation and improvement in history and civics learning with the goal of supporting the development of all students into prepared, informed and engaged citizens.


The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the U.S. Department of Education and was led by a team drawn from iCivics, Harvard University, Arizona State University, and Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life, and Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE).

The Roadmap provides guidance to states and local school districts for the creation of the standards, curricula, and instructional materials necessary for excellence in civic learning for 21st century students.

The initiative brought together a demographically and professionally diverse national network of experts with varied viewpoints in civics, U.S. history, political science, and education to foster a shared national conversation about what is most important to teach in U.S. history and civics, why it should be taught, and how.

This effort comes after a 50-year erosion of civic education in K-12 schools—to the point that the federal government now spends only 5 cents per student per year on civics, and fewer than a quarter of American 8th graders score as proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in civics.

The Roadmap is not a national curriculum, but a robust framework with content guidance and advice about pedagogic strategies that states and local municipalities can use to guide improvement and innovation in their development of U.S. history and civic learning curricula, resources, and learning opportunities.

The goal of the framework and advisory guidance is to support the development of students into prepared, informed, and engaged civic participants. The aspiration is that states and districts will use the Roadmap as a foundation for their own efforts to improve history and civic standards, and to support districts, schools, and educators in efforts to deepen and strengthen U.S. history and civic learning across all grade bands.


It is supplemented by an implementation plan, with roles for each level of our federal system—local, state, tribal, territorial, and national. The goal is to give 60 million students access to high-quality civic learning opportunities and to create 100,000 schools that are “civic ready” by 2030.

The Roadmap and its Pedagogy Companion offer an inquiry-based vision for civics and history, with seven content themes that integrate history and political science, and that are organized by means of the questions to be pursued over the course of a K-12 education. The themes are designed to support disciplinary learning and to motivate the agency students need to sustain constitutional democracy.

Educating for American Democracy was led by The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, The School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning (CIRCLE) and Engagement and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and iCivics—the country’s largest civic education provider.

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