Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper “Action Civics,” “New Civics,” “Civic Engagement,” and “Project-Based Civics”: Advances in Civic Education?

“There is fundamental agreement on both sides that civics education in America is broken and something must be done about it if we are to preserve our experiment in self government,” said Thomas Lindsay, Ph.D., distinguished senior fellow of higher education and constitutional studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “At its core, the debate over Action Civics revolves around two different views of democracy, which in turn, stem from two contrasting conceptions of human nature.”

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 civics 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.

To read the paper in full, please visit: