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Using her new book, “No Citizen Left Behind” as a springboard, Meira Levinson of the Harvard Graduate School of Education explained how America’s schools can start addressing the nation’s civic engagement gap. According to Levinson, by regularly providing opportunities for students to both participate in their communities’ civic sphere and to encounter diverse viewpoints, schools can help foster the habits, beliefs and practices that are essential to true American citizenship.
Charles Adams of the SEED School of Washington, D.C., noted that giving students the tools to take ownership of issues affecting their community can help counteract political and civic apathy. Amber Goodwin of mobilize.org then argued that students should be viewed as stakeholders in the policymaking process inside and outside school walls. Levinson concluded the panel by pointing out the challenges teachers face when promoting more inclusive, civically active classrooms, and argued that teachers should be given opportunities to engage in citizenship education in order to become more effective in the academic setting.
The United States suffers from a civic empowerment gap that is as shameful and anti-democratic as the academic achievement gap targeted by No Child Left Behind. In her new book, "No Citizen Left Behind," Harvard Graduate School of Education's Meira Levinson argues that recovering the civic purposes of public schools will take more than tweaking their curricula. Drawing on political theory, empirical research and her own experience from teaching at an all-black middle school in Atlanta, Levinson calls on schools to remake civic education.
Please join AEI for a discussion of the issues raised by Levinson's book and their implications for our education system.
Online registration is now closed. Walk-in registrations will be accepted.
If you cannot attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page.
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Meira Levinson, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Charles B. Adams, The SEED School of Washington, D.C.
Amber Goodwin, Mobilize.org
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Question and Answer
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Charles Adams is the head of school of The SEED School of Washington, D.C., a college-preparatory, public boarding school. Created by the SEED Foundation in 1998, the school prepares underserved students for success in college and beyond. Adams joined SEED in 2007 and brings a collaborative, student-centered approach and a proven ability to dramatically improve school achievement. He formerly served as principal of Middle School 313/Satellite West in Brooklyn, New York, where he successfully cultivated a positive culture and focus on academic achievement. For the past fifteen years, Adams has worked in various capacities with urban students and communities in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and Brooklyn.
Amber Goodwin serves as director of network initiatives at Mobilize.org, an organization that harnesses the unique attributes and passion of the Millennial Generation to identify and address problems of concern to society. Goodwin started her professional career by working on Capitol Hill for Congressman Donald Payne (D-N.J.) and Congressman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) as a legislative staff aide before working for Grassroots Solutions consulting firm as a campaign camp manager. In her time as campaign camp manager, she helped to train thousands of local, state and national issue organizers, activists and campaign workers on how to become more involved in their communities and win political campaigns on issues. She was the lead community and political organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) historic contract campaign for Justice for Janitors in Houston, TX, which won a first-time union contract for over 5,300 low-wage janitors, and she also served as national convention director for the Young Democrats of America. Goodwin was appointed to the Democratic Nation Committee’s Youth Coordinating Council in 2007 and served as the national co-chair until the fall of 2011. She is also served from 2008 until February of 2012 as the treasurer of the Texas Democratic Party.
Frederick Hess is resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI. An educator, political scientist, and author, Hess studies a range of K-12 and higher education issues. He pens the Education Week blog “Rick Hess Straight Up”; 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.” He has edited widely cited volumes on education philanthropy, urban school reform, how to stretch the school dollar, education entrepreneurship, what we have learned about the federal role in education reform, and No Child Left Behind. He also 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, Mr. Hess has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University.
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” (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. Levinson also co-convenes the Civic and Moral Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.