Civic Education in a Politically Polarized Era

Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo, Erica Hodgin, Joseph Kahne, Sara Trapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A healthy democracy requires informed citizens on all sides of the political spectrum but extreme political polarization creates significant challenges. This study examines how teachers conceptualize civic education in an ideologically and racially diverse school district. Embedded within a research-practice partnership, this case offers timely insight into what civic education means to public school teachers in a politically polarized era and identifies three key problems of practice: teachers’ conceptualizations of civic education vary widely; teachers report an array of external challenges to integrating civics in their classrooms; and sociopolitical context differentially shapes teachers’ ideas about how to adapt their classroom practices. Overall, teachers recognize an increasingly grave need to develop students’ civic skills and dispositions, but do not feel systematically supported to provide such opportunities. These problems of practice can offer insight into how to best provide high-quality civic-learning experiences for students, especially in politically polarized times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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