Teaching About Economic Inequality in a Diverse Democracy: Politics, Ideology, and Difference
by John Rogers, University of California, Los Angeles and Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa
New research published in PS: Political Science and Politics makes clear that a teachers’ level of civic and political engagement, but not their political ideology, predicts whether and how often they teach about economic inequality. Conservative teachers, for example, are just as likely as liberal teachers to teach about the topic regularly. And when addressing issues of economic inequality, liberal and conservative social studies teachers are equally likely to require their students to look at data, differentiate facts from opinion, and compare and contrast different viewpoints. Yet more politically and civically engaged teachers—regardless of their political ideology—engage students far more frequently and in more sophisticated ways than their less-engaged peers. The research also underscores the need and opportunity for educators to engage civically and politically without fear.
Conducted by Professor John Rogers of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and, Professor Joel Westheimer of the University of Ottawa, the study entitled, Teaching About Economic Inequality in a Diverse Democracy: Politics, Ideology and Difference, examines how often social studies teachers address issues of economic inequality, what they teach and why. In particular, the research explores the relationship between teachers’ political ideology and civic and political engagement.