Making Civics Count

Making Civics Count Citizenship Education for a New Generation

Edited by David E. Campbell, Meira Levinson, and Frederick M. Hess
Pub. Date: October 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-478-0
paper, 328 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-476-6
Price: $32.00

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“By nearly every measure, Americans are less engaged in their communities and political activity than generations past.” So write the editors of this volume, who survey the current practices and history of citizenship education in the United States.


This collection of state-of-the-art essays advances the discussion of civics from noble aspiration to empirical evidence and pedagogical practice. The authors, all noted scholars, have shown us how to improve civic education and—in the process—how to strengthen our democracy. It’s time for policymakers to pay attention. — William A. Galston, Ezra Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution

Making Civics Count models a brilliant alternative to the ideological polarization and paralysis that dominates civic education discourse. Campbell, Levinson, Hess, and the other contributors to this volume hail from across the political spectrum but share a critical commitment to reinvigorate dialogue around civic education. They seek not consensus but spirited engagement—with ideas, with solid empirical data, and with visions for a more robust democracy. This is an important book for scholars, policymakers, and anyone interested in civic education’s future. — Joel Westheimer, university research chair, sociology of education, University of Ottawa

This compelling and persuasive book shows that an open climate for discussion of current issues, teachers’ preparation across subject areas, and the new digital media can help foster a vision of democracy and counter prevailing inequality. — Judith Torney-Purta, professor of human development, University of Maryland

How to educate democratic citizens is one of the most important problems in today’s schools. Making Civics Count: Citizenship Education for a New Generation, edited by David E. Campbell, Meira Levinson, and Frederick M. Hess (2012) is an excellent collection of essays, written by some of the most prominent scholars in the field, that enriches our understanding of this problem and how to tackle it. — Judith L. Pace, Democracy & Education

Making Civics Count: Citizenship Education for a New Generation is a well-edited collection of chapters from leading and innovative scholars in the fields of political science, education, and public policy. This volume charts a clear path for meaningful reform at a time when American civil society needs it most.  — Jessica Feezell, Journal of Political Science Education

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About the Editors

David E. Campbell is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and the founding director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy. He is the coauthor of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (2010, with Robert Putnam), which the New York Times describes as “intellectually powerful” and the San Francisco Chronicle as “the most successfully argued sociological study of American religion in more than half a century.” Mr. Campbell is also the author of Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life (2006); the editor of A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election (2007); and a coauthor of Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation and What We Can Do About It (2005). As an expert on religion, politics, young people, and civic engagement, he has often been featured in the national media, including the New York Times, the Economist, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Time, NBC News, CNN, NPR, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

Meira Levinson is an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, following eight years working as a middle school teacher in the Atlanta and Boston Public Schools. She writes about the intersection of political theory, education policy, and pedagogical practice. She is the author of No Citizen Left Behind (2012); The Demands of Liberal Education (1999); and the coauthored Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation and What We Can Do About It (2005), in addition to numerous articles and book chapters. She has served on the steering committees or boards of the American Political Science Association’s Standing Committee on Civic Education and Civic Engagement, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, CIRCLE/Tisch College, Discovering Justice, Generation Citizen, the Civic Ed Project, and the scholarly journal Theory and Research in Education. Ms. Levinson also co-convenes the Civic and Moral Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Frederick M. Hess is resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He has authored influential books on education, including The Same Thing Over and Over; Education Unbound; Common Sense School Reform; Revolution at the Margins; and Spinning Wheels and pens the Education Week blog “Rick Hess Straight Up.” His work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, and the National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on education philanthropy, stretching the education dollar, the impact of education research, education entrepreneurship, and No Child Left Behind. He serves as executive editor of Education Next; as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program; on the Review Board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education; and on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, 4.0 SCHOOLS, and the American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence. A former high school social studies teacher, he has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University.