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Democracy for Some: Closing the Civic Opportunity Gap by Joseph Kahne, Ph.D., Mills College
 

Democracy for Some: Closing the Civic Opportunity Gap by Joseph Kahne, Ph.D., Mills College

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Democracy for Some: Closing the Civic Opportunity Gap by Joseph Kahne, Ph.D., Mills College Democracy for Some: Closing the Civic Opportunity Gap by Joseph Kahne, Ph.D., Mills College Presentation Transcript

  • The Promise of Civic Learning and the Civic opportunity Gap.
    Joseph Kahne
    Civic Engagement Research Group at Mills College
  • Contact Information
    Joseph Kahne, Mills College
    jkahne@mills.edu
    www.civicsurvey.org
    Cover photos courtesy of UCLA Idea
    Courtesy UCLA Idea
  • The Civic Mission of Schools
    The qualifications of self-governance are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training.
    -- Thomas Jefferson
  • Courtesy UCLA Idea
    We should be concerned
  • Late 1990s – Present
    • Concern about low levels of youth civic/political participation
    • Concern about inequitable civic/political engagement
  • Concern: Low Levels of
    Civic Values
  • Concern: Low Levels of
    Interest in Current Events
  • Concern: Low Levels of
    Political Campaign Work
  • Concern: Low Levels of Political Engagement
    2010
    Less than 23% of 1-29 year olds voted
  • Concern: Low Levels of Engagement
    • 9% of youth could list two ways a democratic society benefits from civic participation (NAEP)
    • 55% judged disengaged
  • Concern Inequitable EngagementPolitical Influence
    The policy preferences of those in the bottom third of the income distribution had no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.
    -Larry Bartels (2005)
  • Concern Inequitable EngagementUnequal Voting Rates
    In the General Election:
    • 16% of 18-29 year olds had a college degree, but they were 24% of the voters
    • 14% of 18-29 year olds did not have a high school degree, but they were 6% of the voters
  • Concern Inequitable EngagementUnequal Voice
    High vs. Low Income Citizens
    4x as likely to be part of campaign work
    3x as likely to do informal community work
    2x as likely to contact elected officials
    9x as likely to contribute to campaigns
    -Verba, Scholzman, Brady (1995)
  • Youth Participation Gap
    Of young adults under 30 :
    41% with some college experience were not very engaged.
    81% with no college experience were not very engaged. (Civic Health Index)
  • Late 1990s – Present: Response to Declining Youth Participation
    Can Schools Help?
  • The Study
    • 502 Students
    • 7 high schools from 7 different California school districts
    • API scores ranged from bottom 20% to top 10%
    • % of students receiving free lunch ranged from 1% to 83%
    • Followed students for 3.5 years
    • Diverse Outcomes
  • Two Visions for Promoting the Civic Mission of Schools
    Information/ Discussion-Based Education
    Experience-Based Education
  • Information and Discussion-Centered – The Theory
    Civic Learning Outcomes
    Civic Learning Opps
    Learning about social problems
    Learning about social policies
    Respectful discussion of controversial issues
    Linking civic/political issues to student interests
    Activates awareness, interest, concern, and understanding which motivates participation.
    Civic & Political Engagement
  • Experience-Centered The Theory
    Civic Learning Outcomes
    Civic Learning Opps
    Simulations
    Service Learning
    Extracurricular activities
    Skills
    Agency
    Connection
    Commitment
    Civic & Political Engagement
  • Civic Outcomes
    Political Interest
    Interest in Diverse Perspectives
    Intention to Vote
    Commitment to Participate
    Political Action & Expression (Negatively)
    Findings:Information and Discussion – Centered Opps
  • Findings:Experience - Centered Opps
    Civic Outcomes
    Voluntary Activity
    Civic Skills
    Political Action & Expression
    Commitment to Participate
  • Summary of Findings
  • Ruth Fremson/The New York Times 4/27/10
    Civic Learning Opportunities Matter
  • Student Access to Civic Education Promising Practices
    • 36% of students reported never participating in a simulation in high school
    • 34% of students reported never doing service learning in high school
    • 68% said they learned a lot about the structure and function of government
    • 58% said they often discussed current events
    • 46% said they were often in classes where a wide range of views were discussed
  • Youth Participation Gap
    Of young adults under 30 :
    41% with some college experience were not very engaged.
    81% with no college experience were not very engaged. (Civic Health Index)
  • Inequitable Access to Civic Learning OppsRace/ Ethnicity
    Compared with white students, Latino students report:
    • Fewer opportunities for service learning
    • Less open classroom climates
    • Fewer experiences with role plays and simulations
  • Compared with AP American Government students, students in College Prep Gov’t report fewer of all civic learning opportunities
    • 80% of AP sample took part in simulations
    • 51% of college prep students took part in simulations
    Inequitable Access to Civic Learning OppsStudent Achievement
  • High SES 9th graders when compared to average SES 9th graders are:
    2x more likely to discuss how laws are made
    1.9x more likely to report participating in service activities
    1.4x more likely to take part in a debate or panel discussion
    Inequitable Access to Civic Learning OppsSES
  • Conclusion: Democracy for Some:
    Good News
    Civic learning opps can support development of civic and democratic capacities and commitments
    Bad News
    Schools are not providing equitable access to these opportunities
  • The end of democracy is not likely to not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
    -Robert Maynard Hutchins
  • A Possibility: Civic Education in the Digital Age
    Digital Media can support civic education
    • Games/simulations
    • Social networks
    • Resources
    • Peer to peer, new forms of production, …
  • A Possibility: Civic Education in the Digital Age
    Civic and Political Life is Digital
    • Credibility
    • Diverse Exposure
    • Production
    • Respectful interaction
    • Media Literacy can help
  • Indicators can provide a rationale for action and way to judge impact?
    • Assess opportunities to learn and outcomes
    • Use of indicators to provide direction and feedback (low stakes assessment)
    • Link to reform direction in productive ways.
    • Focus on Quantity, Quality, and Equality
  • Conclusion
    • Thoughts
    • Questions
    • Comments
    • Next Steps