ERIC Number: ED324253
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Democracy's Next Generation: A Study of Youth and Teachers.
People for the American Way, Washington, DC.
Informed and involved citizens are crucial to the functioning of U.S. democracy, yet many people increasingly are reluctant to exercise even the most basic responsibilities of citizenship. Participation in the political process is disturbingly low. If this trend is to be reversed, the country must strengthen civic values and expand the civic participation of the next generation. This study was commissioned to examine youth understanding of and commitment to three important aspects of citizenship in a democracy: meeting personal responsibilities; serving the community; and participating in the nation's political life. The study assessed young people's views on such topics as personal values and aspirations, community service, politics, images of the United States, concepts of citizenship, and influences on their notions of citizenship and civic involvement. Social studies teachers also were interviewed, on the assumption that they shoulder the major responsibility for citizenship education in the schools. There were four major findings of the study. First, young people cherish U.S. freedoms without understanding what it takes to preserve them. Second, this generation is markedly less involved and less interested in public life than previous generations. Third, institutions with the best opportunities to teach young people citizenship--family, school, and government--have been ineffective. And fourth, young people themselves are asking for more ways to get involved. A four-part appendix is included containing: a completed summary questionnaire form from the youth and teacher surveys; an explanation of the survey methodology; focus group materials (discussion outline and overview of the participants); and materials related to the one-on-one interviews (questionnaires and a profile overview of the participants). (DB)
Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Citizenship Education, Citizenship Responsibility, Community Involvement, Current Events, Democracy, Democratic Values, Elementary Secondary Education, Futures (of Society), Higher Education, Interviews, Political Attitudes, Social Attitudes, Social Studies, Social Values, Surveys, Teacher Attitudes, Values, Voting, Youth
People for the American Way, 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036 ($10.95).
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: People for the American Way, Washington, DC.