This essay explores the value and state of civics education in the United States and identifies five challenges facing those seeking to improve its quality and accessibility: 1) ensuring that the quality of civics education is high is not a state or federal priority; 2) social studies textbooks do not facilitate the development of needed civic skills; 3) upper-income students are better served by our schools than are lower-income individuals; 4) cutbacks in funds available to schools make implementing changes in civics education difficult; and 5) reform efforts are complicated by the fact that civics education has become a pawn in a polarized debate among partisans.

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