U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Obama Administration officials and education leaders from across the country – including the American Democracy Project’s George Mehaffy and Jennifer Domagal-Goldman – to launch a national conversation about the importance of educating all students, from grade school to graduate school, for informed and engaged citizenship, which will ultimately strengthen America’s democracy and economy in the 21st century. The event, “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission,” was held in the South Court auditorium at the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Secretary Duncan remarked on the importance of connecting college, career and citizenship. The efforts of Northern Arizona University and Western Kentucky University – two American Democracy Project schools – were highlighted in the panel presentations. George Mehaffy, Vice President of Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and founder of the American Democracy Project, led a breakout session about building and strengthening community-campus partnerships. AASCU President Muriel Howard was featured in a video that was screened talking about colleges and universities acting as stewards of place.
The event coincided with the release of A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, a report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. The report, which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, argues for civic learning across the curriculum and offers a call to action to colleges and universities to renew their long-standing mission to educate students for informed, engaged citizenship.
The event also marks the release of the Department of Education’s own report, “Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action,” and highlights the American Commonwealth Partnership, which brings together schools, colleges, and other civic partners to promote civic education and civic identity throughout American education.
The new American Commonwealth Partnership aims to bring together thousands of universities, colleges, community colleges, schools and other civic partners to promote civic education, civic mission and civic identity throughout all of education in the United States.
Campuses and community partners are encouraged to host their own conversations about how higher education can reclaim our civic mission. Institutions are welcome to use the following discussion guide to frame their conversations:
- Discussion Guide [MS Word, 318K]
Email CivicLearning@ed.gov to learn more about the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to advance education for citizenship and democracy or to share your own ideas about this important topic.