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Flunking DemocracySchools, Courts, and Civic Participation$
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Michael A. Rebell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226549781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226549958.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Flunking Democracy
Author(s):

Michael A. Rebell

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226549958.003.0001

The 2016 presidential election campaign and its aftermath 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 A. 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. Rebell analyzes the causes of this failure, provides a detailed analysis of what we know about how to prepare students for productive citizenship, and considers examples of best practices. Rebell further argues that this civic decline is also a legal failure—a gross violation of both federal and state constitutions that can only be addressed by the courts. Flunking Democracy concludes with specific recommendations for how the courts can and should address this deficiency, and is essential reading for anyone interested in education, the law, and democratic society.

Keywords:   polarization, citizenship, community, democracy, American school system, constitutions, courts, law, society

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