Schools serve as a crucial locus for fostering active citizens who understand the essential principles of democratic life and active involvement based upon those principles. As educators strive to achieve this civic education mission, I argue that they must include improving the economic literacy of K–12 students as an integral component of fostering active and engaged democratic citizens. Unfortunately, economic issues remain almost entirely absent from the broader K–12 social studies curriculum, resulting in a failure to engage young people in some of the most pressing moral and civic issues of our times. Furthermore, K–12 educators must endeavor to overcome the lack of equitable civic education opportunities for underrepresented and disadvantaged students and the widening disparities between residents of the United States. I argue for increasing the economic literacy of high school social studies teachers and their students as a means to promote civic engagement by providing classroom-based examples and by using the critical attributes of the personally responsible citizen, participatory citizen, and justice-oriented citizen as articulated by civic education scholars Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne. Building on these examples, I suggest that K–12 educators should prepare students to engage with a host of macro- and microeconomic dilemmas and questions that promote active and engaged democratic citizenship.

You do not currently have access to this content.