Challenge of Democracy


In a democratic society such as ours, every citizen is entrusted with rights and responsibilities. The citizenry is the source of political power and must be well-educated to effectively take part in civic life. Topics include constitutional democracy, the electoral college, the two-party system, the amendment process, the role of the judiciary, and the question of whether or not democracy is in decline.


While there are many forms of violence with which U.S. society has grappled in its history and will continue to confront in the future, the lessons in this series focus primarily on criminal violence, along with issues and policies related to it. Topics include a historical survey of violence in the U.S., debates over gun control policy, the constitutionality of gang ordinances, criminal-justice reform proposals, hate crimes, and more.


Freedom of the press is a fundamental right in the First Amendment, for the press is an essential government watchdog. Today, the press can provide us with a virtually non-stop flow of information, and we have the means of sharing it widely with just our fingertips. What’s the role of the free press? And how can we be responsible consumers ― and sharers ― of news and information? Topics include fake news, defamation, propaganda, conspiracy theories, the limits on a free press, and the people’s right to know government information.


The story of the United States is the story of its diverse peoples. And the history of interactions among them has been, at turns, both devastating and hopeful. The lessons in this series provide teachers and students the opportunities to explore and critically engage with historical issues related to diversity, as well as contemporary questions that will shape the future for all people in the United States. Topics include confronting the slave ownership of the Founding Fathers, exploring reparations for slavery, evaluating how we measure diversity with the census, understanding current debates over affirmative in college admissions, and more.

PD Webinars – Led by Teachers

Click here to view webinars that showcase selected lessons from The Challenge of Democracy series and walk you through the Civil Conversation and role play/simulation strategies featured in the lessons.

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