ERIC Number: ED498993
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Oct
Engaging Students Politically Goes beyond the Voting Booth. Carnegie Perspectives
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The author provides a response to the question of ongoing potential for civic engagement programs such as Carnegie's Political Engagement Project if voting among young adults soars in the upcoming election, and concludes that need for continued efforts will remain strong even if voting among 18-30 year olds shoots up in November. Beaumont maintains that voting increases among the young would not necessarily represent a stable shift towards greater participation, nor would it indicate that the problem of disengagement is permanently solved, especially among Americans with less education and less money. Voter participation is not the only reason to continue to look at and support civic and political engagement efforts. Voting rates hold particular social value: although necessary for the legitimacy of democratic governance and for the strength of a pluralist democratic culture, quality of participation is also vital and means working to increase relevant political knowledge, skills, and motivations that can support engaged and effective citizenship. Noting that even many faithful voters make political choices based on relatively little information or misinformation, the author advocates that civic engagement efforts can help remedy this and foster the kinds of civic values that can support political participation even when citizens know their actions are unlikely to achieve immediate success. If improving the overall quality of American democracy is understood as the definitive goal, concludes Beaumont, many tasks will remain for the Political Engagement Project and other civic engagement efforts even if we wake up on Nov 3 feeling jubilant by voter turnout among the young.
Descriptors: Citizenship, Voting, Democracy, Citizenship Education, Governance, Young Adults, Social Values, Citizen Participation, Elections, Participation, Community Programs
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 51 Vista Lane, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-566-5102; Fax: 650-326-0278; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Menlo Park, CA.