May 13, 2011
CIRCLE, civic education, civic engagement, civics, Politics, young voters, youth vote
CIRCLE has a post today exploring the difference in reasons college youth and non-college youth give for not voting.
Peter Levine notes that data about voting is notoriously suspect given its ambiguity and the potential for people to withhold their actual behavior.
However, we do see that college-attending non-voters attribute their lack of participation to not being home on Election Day, while their non-college-attending, non-voting peers cite a distrust that their vote will carry any impact.
Of course, the question I am left with is how do we get students to believe in the power of their vote, to commit to voting somewhere whether that’s at home or at college, and to actually do the deed. In a post on Monday articulating a ten point plan for renewal, Levine puts forth a vision for how we might start this work.
4. Prepare a new generation of active and responsible citizens. People form attitudes and habits related to civil society when they are young and keep them for the rest of their lives. But civic education has been cut in most school systems, and there are too few opportunities for young people to learn through service and extracurricular activities. Congress should revive the small Learn & Serve America program that provides competitive grants for service-learning, eliminated in 2011 after 21 years of work. Congress should also restore funding for civic education in schools (eliminated in 2011), but direct the funds to organizations that test or expand innovative educational methods and rigorously evaluate their impact. Meanwhile, the Office of Civic Education within the U.S. Department of Education should be elevated from its current low status (within the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools) and given a leadership role in coordinating the civic education functions of all federal agencies, including the National Parks Service, the national endowment for the humanities and the arts, the Defense Department, and Homeland Security.
Restoring Learn & Serve America moves us in the right direction, while increasing the power and visibility of the Office of Civic Education sends a message that civic education isn’t a joke. We need these steps, combined with many others, to build a foundation for our education system that cultivates civic responsibility among students. The problems in our society are large enough that we need as many people as possible–especially young people– to be on board and willing to make tough decisions and worthy contributions toward our future.
August 15, 2009
activism, CIRCLE, education, higher education, non-college youth, service, Youth
20-29 year olds with no college experience are half as likely to volunteer as those in the same age group who do attend college, according to a report by CIRCLE and jointly released with the National Conference on Citizenship.
Conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College and released jointly with the National Conference on Citizenship, the report found that 25 percent of young adults who have attended college volunteered in 2007 while only 11 percent of those with no college experience volunteered. This gap has remained constant since 2002.
Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE, said young people without college experience are underutilized and underestimated: “Studies show all young people want to get involved in their communities, and lack of college experience should not be the deciding factor,” Levine said. “Schools, communities and government need to create more opportunities for all young people, not just the ones with a college education. Volunteering and participation in civic life is an important part of society, and no one should be excluded from an opportunity to do so.”
This activism gap between those youth attending college and non-college youth is something that’s been around for a while, and as you can see, it continues to exist. While colleges should be doing all they can to develop civic skills in their students, there should also be more focus on those not in college.
Some more information:
Eight in 10 young volunteers became involved by approaching the organization or being asked to become involved. Youth with college experience were more likely to have started volunteering through a pre-existing connection with that organization (33 percent) compared with 21 percent of non-college youth. Of those who started volunteering in some other way, youth without college experience were more likely to have started volunteering through a relative than college youth.
When asked for which type of organization they volunteered, “religious” organizations were the top choice for young people regardless of college experience. Most spend their time mentoring youth and teaching/tutoring, although young people with college experience were slightly more likely to provide professional or management assistance including serving on a board or committee.
Check out CIRCLE’s fact sheet from the release here.
June 18, 2008
CIRCLE, Millennials, youth engagement
While I am not surprised, this is still pleasant news to read. CIRCLE has run some numbers and declared that the youth vote (ages 18-29) nearly doubled from the 2000 primaries to 2008.
Young voters turned out in record numbers, casting a 6.5 million votes. This year’s percentage of young voters was nearly double the turnout in 2000 (in the states that collected youth-voting data that year), according to figures compiled by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE).
…The more than 6 million votes cast is a dramatic increase in youth-voter turnout compared to the 2000 election and marks the first time the youth vote has risen in three consecutive election cycles since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971, according to CIRCLE.
“This primary season, the Millennials have gone to the polls in record numbers, showing they are an influential voting bloc in American politics,” CIRCLE director Peter Levine said. “They realize what’s at stake and the impact this election will have on their future and the future of our country.”
No doubt — an engaged youth is a sign of a healthy democracy. And a health democracy is absolutely needed if the common good is to be served.