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Tisch College has been proud to collaborate with the Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten e.V. (“network of German educational institutions” or AdB) on a Transatlantic Exchange of Civic Educators (TECE). This project has allowed 24 people who educate for democracy and civic life in Germany or the USA to interact intensively online and to visit the two countries together. I personally learned a great deal about contrasting policies and institutional cultures and common challenges, especially the teaching of “hard histories.”
Americans have a lot to learn from Germany’s extensive system for adult education, which involves governmentally funded but substantially independent centers and institutes all across the country, staffed by professionals who have studied adult education. These institutions explicitly promote democracy. On the other hand, the US expects our colleges and universities to provide more public outreach and education, and we have strong social movements that offer a lot of learning opportunities–albeit generally without any state funds.
AdB has now published a detailed and valuable report from the project that is available online, in English. Among other components, it includes an essay by TECE fellows Navina Engelage, April Grayson, Gabrielle Lamplugh, Elena Neu, Teresa Pfaffinger and Sarah M. Surak on history “as an entry point to dialogue and civic education,” and an essay by fellows Laura Tavares, Christina Wiley, Emma Humphries, Sarah Wagner and Christian Johann on the context of political polarization in both countries.