Want to Take My Civics Class? Get Ready to Squirm

Learning How America Works Should Be Hard on You, Not Just Good for You

In many conversations, the topic of civics education comes with its own halo. The conventional wisdom is that it’s good, clean medicine, and if our children just get enough of its inoculation, the American body politic will be healthy enough to survive another generation.

But after nearly two decades as a middle-school and high-school history teacher, I’ve come to understand through teaching civics—and studying how it’s taught—that learning how to be a citizen doesn’t work like that. Indeed, civics education is best when it’s messy and uncomfortable.

That’s especially true in …

How Universities Migrated into Cities and Democratized Higher Education

Colleges Once Thought the Countryside Bred Character. Now They Use Cities for "Hands-On Learning"

Since the end of World War II, most American college students have attended schools in cities and metropolitan areas. Mirroring the rapid urbanization of the United States in the …

Why an Undocumented College Student Left California for Indiana

The Golden State Values Dreamers Like Me, but the Hoosier State Put Graduation Within Reach

I’m one of the young people covered by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people who immigrated with their parents before they were 16 to live …

How African Americans Emerged from Slavery with a Hunger for Education

From Plantations to Churches to the Classroom, Ex-Slaves Tirelessly Pursued Public Schooling

The focus of my research and writing is women’s involvement in higher education, especially women from the Pentecostal and Holiness faith traditions. While conducting research on African American female seminaries, …

Dancing in New Orleans to Overcome Division

A Crescent City Transplant Creates a Diverse Non-Profit, and Finds a New Home

Five years ago, I moved from New York to New Orleans. The reasons included a need to escape from the New York grind, a lover’s terminal brain cancer, and a …

Yes, Classroom Tech Can Tackle Inequality—but Change Takes Politics and Patience

Digital Education Is Lifting Students While Challenging Academics and Silicon Valley

Even as digital technology has grown exponentially more sophisticated, accessible, and integral to our lives, social inequality has cast a deeper shadow across the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, …