By Meira Levinson
While educating at an all-Black heart college in Atlanta, Meira Levinson learned that scholars’ person self-improvement wouldn't inevitably let them to beat their profound marginalization inside of American society. this is why of a civic empowerment hole that's as shameful and antidemocratic because the educational fulfillment hole certain via No baby Left in the back of. No Citizen Left Behind argues that scholars has to be taught tips to upend and reshape strength relationships at once, via political and civic motion. Drawing on political idea, empirical study, and her personal on-the-ground event, Levinson indicates how de facto segregated city colleges can and has to be on the middle of this struggle.
improving the civic reasons of public faculties will take greater than tweaking the curriculum. Levinson calls on colleges to remake civic schooling. faculties should still train collective motion, overtly talk about the racialized dimensions of citizenship, and galvanize scholars via enticing their passions opposed to modern injustices. scholars should also have common possibilities to take civic and political motion, together with in the tuition itself. to construct a really egalitarian society, we needs to reject myths of civic sameness and empower all adolescents to elevate their different voices. Levinson’s account demanding situations not only educators yet all who care approximately justice, variety, or democracy.
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Extra resources for No Citizen Left Behind
True, as an American history teacher I also taught for years about the horrors perpetrated by presidents of the United States: the eight men who owned slaves while president; Andrew Jackson’s systematic slaughter of Native Americans before, during, and after his presidency; Lyndon Johnson’s commitment to sending thousands of American men to die in a war he knew could not be won—to say nothing of the Vietnamese men, women, and children who also perished. But I don’t interpret these events as revealing an essential injustice or inhumanity in the character of the American presidency, or of the United States more generally.
Facts such as the stolen 2000 election, presidents’ slaveholding and other depredations, and White, wealthy politicians’ history of holding ruthlessly onto power easily bore out their interpretation. It is also certainly plausible that my students read the facts as they did because of their experiences growing up as non- White, poor, first-and second-generation immigrants in de facto segregated neighborhoods and schools. When I taught at McCormack, close to 90 percent of the eighth graders qualified for free lunch; 90 percent were racial and ethnic minorities; and well over half were first or second-generation immigrants.
Depending on how you answer these questions, your judgment about what makes for good civic education may be radically different from mine. For the purposes of this book, I adopt the definition of good civic education and citizenship set forth in an influential report, The Civic Mission of Schools. This definition integrates many disparate strands of belief and ideology about citizenship: Civic education should help young people acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.