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Originally published as "Jan. 6 Hearings Show a Democracy in Crisis. Civic Education Can Help," The Washington Post, January 28, 2022.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack is holding its hearings while democracy is declining, both in the United States and globally. No matter how thorough the hearings may be, they can’t fix the long-term decline in civic knowledge and civic education in the United States — how Americans learn about values, rights and obligations that shape how they engage with their communities and their democracy.
Both have been declining for decades. That hurts citizens’ abilities to make informed judgments about civic life. But research finds evidence that some approaches to information literacy can boost civic learning.