- Non-college youth had a lower 2012 voter turnout in states with photo-ID laws, while same-day registration improved overall youth turnout.
- Attending racially diverse high schools predicted lower levels of electoral engagement and informed voting.
- Only eight states include social studies in their assessments of school performance, and only 10 states require civics or government teachers to be certified in those subjects.
- Nearly a quarter of civics or government teachers surveyed believe parents or other adults would object to “bringing politics” into their classrooms.
Overcoming these difficulties and taking advantages of these opportunities will require concerted efforts from every corner of our society. With that in mind, the Commission makes a set of recommendations to parents, teachers, communities, school districts, youth organizations, and policy makers at every level. Among them:
- Revise state civics standards and assessments so that they encourage deliberation about current events and experiential learning.
- Lower the voting age to 17 in municipal or state elections so that students can be encouraged to vote while they are taking a required civics class.
- Make voting more accessible through same-day registration, as well as on-line and mobile registration.
- Align states’ high school civics curricula with voting reforms that encourage pre-registration in schools
- Support the discussion of controversial issues in schools, with accompanying teacher professional development.
- Implement multiplayer role-playing video games as tools for civic education.
I encourage you to review the full report.
-Richard Kimball, Vote Smart President