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Eric Liu

Season 2, Ep. 17

Episode 17: The Opportunities and Obligations of Citizenship in K-12 Education


What if each of us believed we had the power to make change happen in civic life—and felt we had the responsibility to try? That’s the premise behind Eric Liu’s Citizen University, and the starting point for this New View EDU discussion on power literacy, changemaking, and civic agency in schools. How did the study of “civics” become a boring, drill-and-kill topic? When and why did we stop treating civic literacy as a relevant, necessary skill for students to learn? And how can we reclaim a sense of civic responsibility, citizenship, and future agency in our school communities?


Guest: Eric Liu

Resources and Expanded Show Notes

Full Transcript


In This Episode:


  • “And as I've said in many contexts, power is like fire or physics. It just is. It’s there. And though it can be put to bad uses, that fact doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to think of what good uses it could be put to.” (3:22)
  • “You know, the purpose of schooling is not just to create good workers or good employees or people who can compete in the global economy as, as has become the dominant refrain of justification for schooling and especially public schooling. But fundamentally it is to create citizens, people capable of self-government. And that was certainly the case for universal compulsory public education.” (7:16)
  • “If you want to teach civics, you have to teach the arguments. You have to show young people the ways in which, from the beginning and to this day, we are perpetually contesting several sets of tensions, between Liberty and equality, between a strong national government and local control, between federalism and anti federalism, between the Pluribus part of our national motto and the Unum part of our national motto. Right? And these tensions are never meant to be resolved finally, one direction or the other…The tension that we are always in is the argument. And the point of American civic life isn't right now to have fewer arguments, it's to have less stupid ones.” (20:23)
  • “Education is not all critical thinking and SEL. You got to have some raw material about which you are thinking critically. And we have to have some common facts around which we can have emotional intelligence, right? And I think schools, public and private over the last two generations, have failed our country, have failed our democratic experiment, in providing that core knowledge.” (34:09)


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11/8/2022

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