This article explores civic learning, civic participation, and the development of civic agency within the Council of Youth Research (the Council), a program that engages high school students in youth participatory action research projects that challenge school inequalities and mobilize others in pursuit of educational justice. We critique the neoliberal view of democracy that dominates in the existing research, policy, and practice around urban school reform and civic education and instead turn to evidence from social movements and critical social theory as a foundation for a reimagined, more robust vision of critical democracy. Through our analysis of the activities that the Council students engaged in during and after a five-week summer seminar, we offer findings about the kinds of learning and pedagogy that characterize a critical democratic space. We discuss how students and teachers learn through dialogue that characterizes them as public intellectuals; we explore how students develop new forms of civic participation through their engagement with digital, participatory media and interactive presentations to community stakeholders; and we document the developing sense of agency that students experience as a result of these authentic civic learning opportunities. We conclude by highlighting the impacts of this program and its potential to create a new paradigm for civic life and civic education.
, Morrell, E. D.
, Cain, E.
, Scorza, D.
, Ford, A.
Educating for a Critical Democracy: Civic Participation Reimagined in the Council of Youth Research.
Democracy and Education,
(1), Article 3.
Available at: http://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol21/iss1/3