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A New Era of Civics in Massachusetts: What, Why and How? A Workshop Series



In recent years, state-led civic education policy has shown it can pave the way for equitable access that ensures every student is prepared for democratic life. However, implementation design and outcome varies in each local context and state. CIRCLE, at Tufts University, has been a leader in pushing for equitable K-12 civic learning for nearly two decades and is the only group in the nation that has worked closely with three different states as they pass a new civic education law and embark on the process of translating a law and standards into classroom changes. Most recently, CIRCLE engaged in a landscape assessment and early evaluation research partnership with Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development to help chart the future paths for the Massachusetts civic education community.

In this interactive workshop, we will share what we know so far from the first study of Massachusetts civics after the new HSS Framework and civics law have been passed—including the current status and the potential drivers of high-quality instruction. We will also share key practical implications for the classroom aimed at teachers and education leaders. Our goal with this workshop is to work with the participants on what equitable implementation of civic education and teacher professional development can look like in your school or district for the coming year. This is one of three workshops designed for local educators to plan and reflect on how each student can get a high-quality civic education. We will also highlight lessons from our partnerships in other states that passed civic education legislation and what local educators, administrators, and partners in MA can glean from their experiences. 

We invite Massachusetts educators and education leaders at the school and district levels to join us in this conversation with experts from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Boston University, and CIRCLE/Tufts University on what worked in revamping civic education in Massachusetts and what the road ahead looks like. This is the first in a series of three workshops planned in late spring and fall this year to have multiple conversations with local education leaders and strategic planners in civics education. We are hoping that the three workshops will help develop awareness and a roadmap of networks, community, and resources that support teachers in teaching civics after an unprecedented year.



  • Kei Kawashima Ginsberg, CIRCLE Director
  • Reuben Henriques, History and Social Science Content lead at MA DESE
  • Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, Professor, Boston University
  • Noorya Hayat, Senior Researcher, CIRCLE

Note: This is the first of three workshops in the series which will take place throughout 2021. Stay tuned for dates and details on subsequent sessions.