A Theory of Change for Scaling Critical Civic Inquiry

Ben Kirshner, Shelley Zion, Solicia Lopez, Carlos Hipolito-Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Case studies of single classrooms and schools have shown promising evidence of learning outcomes associated with action civics and student voice. These findings justify efforts to expand and sustain such opportunities, to ensure greater access for students, and to create a positive feedback loop between youth activism and equity-centered systems change. Although the literature on educational innovation and scaling offers some guidance, this literature has not grappled sufficiently with issues of power that come to the fore when the innovation, such as student activism, challenges dominant systems and practices. We draw on theories of antiracist education and community organizing to propose a theory of change for scaling and sustaining justice-centered civic learning. We situate this argument in examples from a research-practice partnership that has sought to scale a district-sponsored program that works with teachers and students to raise awareness about injustices and to catalyze student engagement in action research and policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-306
Number of pages13
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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