This month’s issue looks at the midterm legislative races and statewide ballot measures, the role of primaries, the value of art in school, perspective from two of the nation's top pollsters and much more.
The Alliance for Representative Democracy, consisting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center for Civic Education and the Center on Congress at Indiana University, periodically conduct national public opinion surveys on attitudes toward democratic institutions, specifically Congress and state legislatures.
The results of first poll, conducted in 2003, are summarized in Citizenship a Challenge for All Generations. The survey showed that young people do not understand the ideals of citizenship, they are disengaged from the political process, they lack the knowledge necessary for effective self government and their appreciation and support for of American democracy is limited. The report does provide evidence that civic education makes a difference in attitudes toward citizenship, knowledge and civic engagement of young people.
The second poll was conducted in partnership with the Alliance and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools in 2004. The report, From Classroom to Citizen: American Attitudes on Civic Education, shows that the public believes that educating young people about democracy should be a central mission of schools. Yet, most Americans fell that public schools are not fulfilling this mission and are not doing an adequate job preparing students to become engaged, active citizens.
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