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Can the courts save civics education?

41 minutes

Recent elections and the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection have underscored worrisome trends in the present state of our democracy: the extreme polarization of the electorate, the dismissal of people with opposing views, and the widespread acceptance and circulation of one-sided and factually erroneous information. Only a small proportion of those who are eligible actually vote, and a declining number of citizens actively participate in local community activities.

In Flunking Democracy, Michael Rebell makes the case that this is not a recent problem, but rather that for generations now, America’s schools have systematically failed to prepare students to be capable citizens. In the book and in this interview, he specific recommendations for how the courts can and should address this deficiency. He also talks about his efforts to make those ideas a reality — including petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court later this year.

Rebell is Professor of Law and Educational Practice and Executive Director of the Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College.

Additional Information

Cook v. McKee - the case Rebell and his colleagues are taking to the U.S. Supreme court

Center for Educational Equity at Columbia University

Flunking Democracy: Schools, Courts, and Civic Participation

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