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Walter Parker

Walter Parker HeadshotWalter Parker teaches in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle and is also an adjunct professor in Political Science. He studies K—12 social studies education generally and specializes in civic education and international education. His books include Education for Democracy: Contexts, Curricula, and Assessments (2002); Teaching Democracy: Unity and Diversity in Public Life (2003); Social Studies Today: Research and Practice (2010); and Social Studies in Elementary Education (2011). He currently heads a project to develop and study a high school government course (still a staple of the American curriculum) that is at once more lively, authentic, and rigorous, and that results in deeper understanding of American government and politics.

Read Walter Parker’s recent publication Citizenship Education in the United States: Regime Type, Foundational Issues, and Classroom Practice.


Citizenship and citizenship education are old ideas that are again at the forefront of scholarship in the social sciences and education. This chapter examines three issues that animate citizenship education in the United States, including its core tension: balancing personal freedom with a common political culture. The chapter also reviews promising citizenship education practices and highlights the profound inequality that marks their allocation to schools and students. The chapter concludes with the key role played in U. S. citizenship education by non-governmental organizations. Five concepts anchor the chapter: citizenship, citizenship education, regime type, liberal democracy, and classroom and school practice.