New Report

Educating for

Civic Reasoning and Discourse

The aim of the National Academy of Education (NAEd) Educating for Civic Reasoning and Discourse report is to better prepare students to examine and discuss complex civic, political, and social issues by ensuring that the curricula, pedagogy, and learning environments that they experience are informed by the best available evidence and practice. This includes identifying opportunities to learn from well-established areas of interdisciplinary research on human learning and development, as well as current exemplars of instruction.

Under the direction of an expert steering committee of researchers and other leaders in civic learning and student engagement, working panels each examined a specific theme, including: (1) philosophical foundations and moral reasoning; (2) learning sciences and human development (covering cognition and its relationship to identity, development across the life course, and implicit bias); (3) history of education for democratic citizenship; (4) agency and resilience in the face of challenge as civic action: lessons learned from across ethnic communities; (5) ecological contexts; (6) learning environment, school climate, and other supports for civic engagement; (7) digital literacy and the health of democratic practice; (8) pedagogical practices and how teachers learn.

The report concludes with an extensive set of recommendations for practice, policy, and further research, which were carefully developed by the steering committee and reflect a synthesis of the chapters in this report. These recommendations were also developed with insights from key stakeholders and educators who participated in public forums and provided invited comments.


  • Carol Lee
    Northwestern University
  • Gregory White
    National Academy of Education
  • Dian Dong
    National Academy of Education


  • James Banks
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Sarah Freedman
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Kris Gutiérrez
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Diana Hess
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Joseph Kahne
    University of California, Riverside
  • Carol Lee (Chair)
    Northwestern University
  • Peter Levine
    Tufts University
  • Na’ilah Suad Nasir
    Spencer Foundation
  • Walter Parker
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Judith Torney-Purta
    University of Maryland, College Park

Past Events

Educating for Civic Reasoning & Discourse Report Release Forum

May 3, 2021, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Eastern Time

AERA Invited Speaker Session: NAEd Civic Reasoning and Discourse Report

April 9, 2021, 4:10 pm – 5:40 pm Eastern Time

Civic Reasoning and Discourse Plenary Session

November 6, 2020, 10:50 am – 1:10 pm Eastern Time

Civic Reasoning and Discourse Workshop

March 10-11, 2020


Contact Greg White or Dian Dong for more information.

The research reported here is supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Hewlett Foundation.

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