The nationwide movement to replace “content-based” civic education with “Action Civics” is a remedy in some ways worse than the disease: It would rob our already civically illiterate students of class time needed for study.

Key points:

  • This study examines the origins, nature, and educational effects of a movement in civic education that goes by a number of names—”New Civics,” “Action Civics,” “Civic Engagement,” and “Project-Based Civics.”
  • Action Civics’ defenders point to what they deem to be the failure of the “dominant, book-learning approach to civics education.”
  • Critics contest Action Civics’ claim that content-based civic education should be replaced by “doing civics.”
  • Critics further contend that Action Civics is simply a pseudonym for “teaching kids how to protest.”
  • If Texas adopts a “doing civics” approach, it should clarify in legislation that “doing civics” is secondary to, and derives its value only from, a Founding-documents-based approach to civic education.