Civic Education as an Instrument of Social Mobility
Dawinder S. Sidhu
Georgetown University Law Center; University of New Mexico - School of Law
August 26, 2013
90 Denver University Law Review 977 (2013)
UNM School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-01
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, by way of interviews with various stakeholders, whether there is a cognizable relationship between civic education and increasing the urban poor's prospects for social and physical mobility. It affirms that civic education can play a role in facilitating such mobility and argues that law schools should shoulder some of the responsibility to provide civic education in high schools located in urban areas of concentrated poverty. The Article also provides specific guidance on how civic education programs can be tailored to be most effective in these high schools.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: civics, education, constitutional literacy, mobility, urban, law schools, high schools, students
Date posted: January 13, 2013 ; Last revised: August 1, 2014