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The Importance of Teaching Civic Responsibility in America

RAND – Doug Erving |

Civics was once the cornerstone of an American education. It’s not even a graduation requirement in some places now—but that is starting to change. A growing number of states and school districts are re-recognizing a need for teachers like Billups to prepare their students for the sometimes-messy realities of democracy.

Researchers at RAND have focused on civics in recent years as a crucial front in the fight against “Truth Decay,” the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. In a recent survey, they asked hundreds of civics and social studies teachers what they teach, how they teach it, and what they think students need to know to become those 21st-century change agents.

Doug Irving is a communications analyst at the RAND Corporation and the lead writer for RAND’s flagship magazine, RAND Review.