A Life Lesson in Civics: How Democracy Prep Charter Schools Boost Student Voting

Publisher: Education Next, vol. 19, no. 3
Apr 11, 2019
Authors
Brian P. Gill, Charles Tilley, Emilyn Whitesell, Mariel Finucane, Liz Potamites, and Sean P. Corcoran

Education in the United States has a foundational public purpose: to prepare students for effective citizenship. The idea that an educated and engaged citizenry is essential to the health of a democracy motivated the creation of government-run “common schools” in the early decades of our nation and remains an important value in modern times. Yet adult behavior often falls short of this goal; voter turnout, for example, is relatively low, at about 61 percent in recent presidential elections. And just 22 percent of U.S. 8th graders passed the most recent nationwide civics test, part of the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress.