What Would You Do?: Taking the Action Out of Civics?

Snapshot: This first episode of a video podcast series, produced in partnership with the Ethical Schools podcast, includes a dramatized version of our case "Taking the Action Out of Civics?" along with a discussion of the case led by Professor Meira Levinson. When a high school received pushback to their project-based civics curriculum, what should they do? 




What Would You Do?

Podcast Description: What Would You Do?: Taking the Action Out of Civics?, examines the debate over a form of project-based civics education called Action Civics, in which students research a topic of their choosing and then take action to create change. In this case study, a parent’s crusade to end the action civics project prompts a high school to examine the purpose of civic education, the rights of young people to influence their community, and the ways that polarized discourse influences schools. Should young people be recipients of civic knowledge rather than agents of change? How should input from the community influence school decisions about curriculum? In a polarized community, is it better to make waves or smooth tensions? 

The podcast begins with a dramatization of the case, performed by a cast of actors.

actors gallery view


After the case, a diverse group of experts dives into these questions in the discussion following the case video: Andrew Wilkes of the nonprofit Generation Citizen, Robert Pondiscio of the American Enterprise Institute, Debbie Holecko of Ohio’s North Olmsted Middle School, and Fernando Reimers of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Their wide-ranging and timely conversation explores questions about student agency, teacher autonomy, state authority, community involvement, parental rights, and political polarization.

AC discussion panel


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