Civic Education as an Instrument of Upward Mobility
Dawinder S. Sidhu
University of New Mexico - School of Law
May 15, 2012
Economic inequality -- the relative distance between the wealthy and the poor -- is growing in the United States. Relatedly, social mobility -- the opportunity to rise economically -- has stalled for many in the nation. This is most true for the urban poor, who experience extreme poverty and are trapped in American inner cities. Meaningful economic opportunity and robust public educational support are among the traditionally-discussed means by which the urban poor may attain enhanced economic and physical mobility. The question becomes whether civic education -- an understanding of the structure and contents of the U.S. Constitution and of the American government more broadly -- has anything to offer in terms of uplifting the urban poor out of their economic stagnation and physical isolation.
This Article explores whether there is a cognizable relationship between civic education and increasing the urban poor's prospects for social and physical mobility. It examines whether there is any link between civic education and facilitating greater mobility in urban America and argues that, to the extent such a relationship exists, law schools, as educators of the Constitution and holders of the public's sacred trust, should shoulder some of the responsibility to provide civic education in public secondary schools located in urban areas of concentrated poverty. The Article also provides guidance on how civic education can be tailored for and be most effective in the urban environment.
Keywords: civics, education, constitutional literacy, mobility, urban, law schools, studentsworking papers series
Date posted: May 17, 2012
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