Mette co-authors new article encouraging civic education to foster a stronger democracy

Ian MetteCreating more opportunities for civic education in U.S. schools can lead to a stronger democracy. That’s the argument of a new article co-written by UMaine associate professor of educational leadership Ian Mette in the September issue of School Administrator, the journal of the School Superintendents Association (AASA).

“Democratizing Schools From the Inside Out” was co-authored by Mette and Carl Glickman, professor emeritus of education at the University of Georgia. They previously collaborated on a book, “The Essential Renewal of America’s Schools,” published earlier this year by Teachers College Press.

“We should be striving for the same micro-community in our schools that we wish to have as a macro-community in our society,” Mette and Glickman say in the article.

“This is accomplished by using participatory learning practices throughout the school and its community to make connections between what is taught, what students learn and how students apply their learning to the larger world,” they write.

The article highlights innovative examples of civic education in preK–12 schools, as well as research that shows how expanding such opportunities can create more democratically oriented students, schools and communities.

State and federal regulations giving local districts and schools more flexibility over things like curriculum and instruction are an invitation to expand civic-minded education, Mette and Glickman say. However, they caution that as school leaders navigate these policies that they include “a schoolwide promise about what students will learn;” “a commitment to democratically share governance by all stakeholders;” and “a problem-solving process involving the entire school community to study and craft a uniquely powerful and purposeful education environment.”

School Administrator is distributed to about 13,000 AASA members nationwide, including CEOs, superintendents and senior school administrators, professors, and others interested in school leadership.

Contact: Casey Kelly,