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Civics Education: What Do Students Learn About How Our Democracy Works & Why Does it Matter


The workings of our democracy can be confusing to anyone, especially in today's political climate. Do young people get exposed to politics and government in school? We talk with educators to find out what Maine students learn about civics, and whether schools promote teaching about more controversial issues.


Kenneth C. Davis, historian, best-selling author of the “Don’t Know Much About History” series; he has made it his mission for 30 years to make history accessible and more widely understood

Joe Schmidt, social studies content specialist, Maine Department of Education

Claire Holman, junior, Maranacook Community High School

Shane Gower, social studies teacher, Maranacook Community High School; board member, Maine Council for the Social Studies

Garrett Martin, social studies teacher, Fort Fairfield Middle/High School


Cindy helps produce Maine Public's live call-in show Maine Calling, and sometimes hosts the show—as well as the All Books Considered Book Club. Her first foray into journalism after graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism was to intern with CNN in China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. She then worked in print journalism over the decades, as a factchecker, writer and editor, with publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times Magazine to the magazine of the National Zoo to a food trends magazine.