Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term civic education has two distinct but related meanings in U.S. society. It refers narrowly to a specific subject within the social studies, one concerned with teaching the institutions of government, the law, and the U.S. Constitution. More broadly, civic education was both one of the primary justifications for establishing common (or public) schools, as well as the overarching purpose that those schools were intended to achieve. This broader purpose has over time involved the development of individual character and good citizenship, the analysis of society and its reform, and the promotion of a strong work ethic and celebration of free enterprise. Both the narrow and broad conceptions of civic education concern the individual's attainment of the political status of citizen and the national maintenance of a democratic political system. Civic education is directed both toward children in the public schools and toward adult immigrants who seek citizenship. Civic ...