In theory, a strong democracy rests on robust citizen participation. The practice in most democracies is quite different. This gap presents a challenge, which can be narrowed by augmenting civic education to bring it up to date with the current information environment and thus give citizens the opportunity to participate. Robert Dahl’s work on democracy provides a model that looks at this problem structurally. He writes about the ideals and the actual institutions necessary for a democracy and if we situate his model in the modern information environment we get a better idea of how to improve civic education. Successful citizen participation in the U.S. relies on two key factors: the ability to winnow relevant information as well as an opportunity to get reliable information from alternative sources.
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