Inclusive civic education and school democracy through participatory budgeting

Tara Bartlett, Daniel Schugurensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calls for more civic education have risen alongside political polarization, social injustices, and threats to democracy. Although civic learning opportunities are disproportionately accessible and often not inclusive, one model has shown promising results. Through School Participatory Budgeting, students deliberate and decide how to allocate funds to improve their school community using a democratic process and learn democracy by doing. However, like other civic engagement programs, students with disabilities (SWD) are often underrepresented. To address this challenge, a pilot project focused on engaging SWD in every aspect of the process, including overrepresentation on the student steering committee. In a mixed methods case study, we explored the effects of participation in the process and found that the inclusive model increased civic knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices for all students and fostered self-skills, relationships, and school leadership roles for SWD. These findings yield important lessons for future implementation of inclusive civic education practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEducation, Citizenship and Social Justice
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Civic education
  • inclusive education
  • participatory budgeting
  • school democracy
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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