Term of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 1

Delores Liston

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

William Schubert

Committee Member 3 Email



The Citizenship Education Program held at the Dorchester Center in Midway, Georgia was an adult literacy program piloted by the Highlander Folk School and eventually transferred to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The purpose of the program was to teach literacy skills to black adults so they could pass their state’s voter registration test. Believing that first class citizenship could only be achieved through the ballot, and that the ballot was the key to changes in the lives and welfare of Southern blacks, ordinary citizens traveled to Dorchester for weeklong workshops on how to teach reading and writing to others. Once students completed the training, they went back into their communities and started Citizenship Schools teaching their neighbors and friends how to read and write and ultimately register to vote. This program was successful because it relied on three basic keys: the students determined the content of the curriculum based on their experiences and needs, the lessons focused on real problems within their community that needed solving, and the students were inspired to action to solve these problems. These keys can breathe life into our standards-based business classrooms today by shifting the focus away from teacher-directed classrooms to spaces were students determine the content of the lesson, the focus on real-life situations, and the skills learned prepare students to solve their own problems.

Research Data and Supplementary Material