Educating for Democracy: The Role of Youth Sports Past and Present

Presented by Clark Power

At the beginning of the 20th century, the authors of The Cardinal Principles of Education laid out what became the blueprint for today’s secondary and middle level education.  There the authors made the bold assertion that education for democracy should take place both “within and outside the school.” They believed that extracurricular activities, like sports, complimented formal classroom civic instruction by giving students experiences of teamwork and sacrifice for the common good.  This seminar will explore the history of youth sports in America from early in the 20th century, when Americans invested in providing playgrounds and sports programs for all children, to the present when youth sports has become “re-privatized” excluding children from low income households. We will draw on contemporary social science research to discuss whether youth sports have a role to play in preparing all children for democratic citizenship.

About Clark Power

Clark Power is a Professor of Psychology and Education in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS).  His publications focus on moral development and education, sports education, and civic engagement.  He is the founder and Executive Director of Play Like a Champion, a non-profit serving youth sport organizations in over 150 cities and towns across the U.S.