Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

George Thomas


If we accept the purpose of civic education is to teach students how to be good citizens, I argue the way civic education currently exists and operates is failing to achieve this goal. Traditional and mechanical civics has been the norm in education for decades. This has failed to teach students how to be good citizens because it 1) often isolates students with non-dominant identities 2) it does not encourage the motivation nor skills needed for civic engagement after high school and 3) does not include race as part of the curriculum. I argue race needs to be included in civic education curriculum in order to prepare students to be good citizens. Race affects the way students view and interact with America. What it means to be a citizen – and what good citizenship looks like – is different for everyone, and some non-dominant identities have consistently been disadvantaged civically. Including race in the curriculum is fundamental to overcoming the civic empowerment gap, as well as cultivating social values critical to good citizenship such as respect and tolerance. Although teaching race in schools has recently become a cultural flash point, there are ways to incorporate race into the civic education curriculum that do not invoke Critical Race Theory while still providing students the space to create civic identities and political attachments. To not include race in civic education is to continue privileging certain identities in civic society and to deny every student the quality civic education they deserve.