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ERIC Number: ED498124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Civics Exam: Schools of Choice Boost Civic Values. PEPG/ 07-05
Wolf, Patrick J.
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University
For this systematic review, the author examines 59 findings from 21 quantitative studies regarding the effects of school choice on seven civic values that relate to the capacity of individuals to perform as effective citizens in a representative democracy. The values, in order from the most studied to the least studied, are: (1) Political tolerance--the willingness to extend the full slate of civil liberties even to people and groups that one dislikes; (2) Voluntarism--the contribution of one's time, without material compensation, to support the activities of a charity or community organization; (3) Political knowledge--a basic understanding of the U.S. political system and an awareness of current events and political leaders; (4) Political participation--the exercise of a number of citizenship responsibilities, including voting, attending public meetings, and contacting government representatives; (5) Social capital--the extent to which a person is networked within their community; (6) Civic skills--experience in and confidence with activities such as public speaking and letter writing that can be used to influence the political process; and (7) Patriotism--a visceral positive connection to one's country and respect for its national symbols and rituals. 56 of the 59 results from the studies suggest that the general effect of private schooling or school choice on civic values trends neutral-to-positive. A total of 33 findings (56 percent) support the position that private schooling or school choice arrangements actually enhance civic values relative to assigned public schools. Twenty-three neutral results appear in the studies (39 percent of all findings), indicating that school choice neither increased nor decreased the civic values of students. Only three findings of a significant traditional public schooling advantage are reported in the studies (5 percent of all findings). As a whole, these 59 statistical findings suggest that the effects of school choice on civic values tend, in almost all cases, to be either positive or nil. Includes Appendix: Descriptive Review and Bibliography of the 21 Studies Analyzed in "Civics Exam: Schools of Choice Boost Civic Values." (Contains 33 endnotes.) [This report was published by the Program on Education Policy and Governance.]
Program on Education Policy and Governance. Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Taubman 304, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-495-7976; Fax: 617-496-4428; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A040043