Civic Life

Out of Inquiry Comes Action: An Update on the Fishkill Supply Depot

In December of 2016, I submitted a blog about the community effort to save the Fishkill Supply Depot. Two year later and we are still fighting to keep this historic site from being commercially developed. I became a trustee for the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot and became actively involved in Taking Informed Action. […]

Question Everything: A Non-Partisan, Political Classroom

There is one thing on which both sides of the political spectrum agree – our country is in a hyper-partisan era. Tribal partisanship and blind uncritical acceptance of information has become all too banal. However you position yourself on the political spectrum, teachers are in a precarious position as they consider their role in helping […]

What are Teacher Needs for Civic Education?

Talk of civics education seems to be everywhere these days. From concerns about students not knowing enough civics to blaming election results on civics education to arguments that more rigorous civics classes won’t solve much. A recent article from NPR, asked what civics education needs to “stick” with students. The article suggests civics education must […]

Talking and Listening with “Strangers”

Lately, I’ve been grappling with how scholars, teachers, and policymakers define “citizenship” and, consequently, “citizenship education.” One thing I found was the prevalence of individualized notions of citizenship in curriculum – meaning when students think about acting as a democratic citizen, it is often in terms of the individual’s rights, freedoms, and actions, rather than […]

Student Blogger: What Makes a Movement Successful?

This year my classes made the transition to inquiry-based learning—completing over twelve IDMs. I think that the IDM is such a useful tool for thinking about inquiry, not just teaching it. I decided to give my students the option of writing an IDM because I believe that my students can do it and be transformed […]

C3 Hawai’i: Making Our Social Justice Education Mission Explicit

In 1916, John Dewey wrote, “As a society becomes more enlightened, it realizes that it is responsible not to transmit and conserve the whole of its existing achievements, but only such as make for a better future society. The school is its chief agency for the accomplishment of this end” (Dewey, 1916, p. 20). From […]

Acting Like a Citizen: Beyond the Voting Booth

Recently, I clicked a link on my Facebook feed that said it was a list of easy ways to de-stress your life. Seemed like a good idea for me. Nothing on there was too unexpected, but many of them I refuse to do. One was to give up coffee. No. Another non-negotiable was the suggestion […]

Talking With, At, and For Each Other: Fostering Civil Civic Discourse

Whenever I have introduced a class debate to my students, there are two standard audible reactions: the low, drawn-out “Yeeeeeesssss” and the equally drawn-out, but more defeated-sounding, grown. “I’m going to win!” “This is going to turn into a fight” “I want to be on her side. She’s good at arguing with people.” But I […]