CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
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The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Concepts of Citizenship

This series of research products addresses definitions and theories of the role of citizens. Some of the research is empirical (about concepts that people believe) and some of it is normative and conceptual (defending or criticizing concepts).

RSSConcepts of Citizenship

New Book: Engaging Young People in Civic Life

Vanderbilt University Press has published Engaging Young People in Civic Life, edited by James Youniss and by Peter Levine, with a forward by former United States Representative Lee Hamilton. This book originated in a meeting organized by CIRCLE and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Many of the chapters are informed by CIRCLE-funded research Read More >

July 6th, 2009
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New book: The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens

The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens is a manifesto for youth civic engagement, based on a critical review of recent research. The book is written by Peter Levine, the Director of CIRCLE, but draws on the work and research of CIRCLE staff, grantees, and advisory board, among others. All proceeds Read More >

July 1st, 2007
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Working Paper 55: Civic Measurement Models: Tapping Adolescents’ Civic Engagement

by Constance A. Flanagan, Amy K. Syversten, and Michael D. Stout May 2007 “The goal of this project was to produce a set of civic measures with good psychometric properties that are appropriate for use with young people ages 12-18. These measures tap aspects of adolescents civic behaviors, opinions, knowledge, and dispositions. These measures are Read More >

May 29th, 2007
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Working Paper 54: Improving Textbooks as a Way to Foster Civic Understanding and Engagement

by Marilyn Chambliss, Wendy Richardson, Judith Torney-Purta, and Britt Wilkenfeld April 2007 “In this paper we describe a recent study in which tenth graders who had parent permission were randomly assigned to read one of three types of passages about direct and representative democracy. After reading, all students responded to the same tasks to measure Read More >

April 2nd, 2007
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Around the CIRCLE–V.4 I.3 APRIL 2007

In this issue:

FOUR YEARS AFTER THE CIVIC MISSION OF SCHOOLS REPORT: A SUMMARY OF THE LATEST CIRCLE RESEARCH ON SCHOOL-BASED CIVIC LEARNING

In February of 2003, Carnegie Corporation of New York and CIRCLE issued a major report on the state of K-12 civic education entitled The Civic Mission of Schools (CMS). The report drew upon the best research from several disciplines and offered “six promising approaches” for effectively providing civic education. After the publication of the CMS report, CIRCLE and Carnegie helped to organize the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, an advocacy effort. Composed of more than 40 organizations and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Knight Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, and the Gates Foundation, among others, the Campaign works to increase federal and statelevel support for civic education. Its national advisory board is co-chaired by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Governor Roy Romer. The Campaign works closely with partners such as the Alliance for Representative Democracy, which has teams in every state, and the Education Commission of the States (ECS). This article provides a summary of the latest CIRCLE-funded research on the six promising approaches. Read more.

A LETTER FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE CIVIC
MISSION OF SCHOOLS REPORT

On behalf of Carnegie Corporation of New York and CIRCLE, we collaborated in 2002 and 2003 to organize The Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) report. Written by 60 authors, the report is probably best known for presenting evidence in favor of “six promising practices” for civic education in schools (see the cover article to this issue for recent evidence about those practices).

By 2003, there had been many evaluations of specific programs and types of programs, often with favorable results. Citing that body of research, The Civic Mission of Schools concluded that schools play an important role in helping young people gain the civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to participate fully in our democracy. That conclusion mattered for public policy because preparing the next generation for active and responsible citizenship is a crucial, and often forgotten, purpose of public education. Read more.

Research Roundup:

CLASSROOMS PRODUCE POSITIVE CIVIC OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS: RESULTS FROM A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

Joseph Kahne and Susan Sporte investigate civic outcomes among high school students in Chicago in their forthcoming article entitled, “Developing Citizens: A Longitudinal Study of School, Family, and Community Influences on Students’ Commitments to Civic Participation” (funded by the Spencer Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust). The most important finding is that what happens in classrooms has a meaningful impact on students’ commitment to civic participation. Read more.

THE CALIFORNIA SURVEY OF CIVIC EDUCATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE PREVALENCE AND IMPACT OF CIVIC EDUCATION ON GRADUATING SENIORS

The California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (www.cms-ca.org) commissioned Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh of Mills College to conduct the California Survey of Civic Education. This survey assessed the prevalence and impact of civic education practices in California’s high schools on graduating seniors throughout the state. Read more.

ECS STUDY REVEALS GAPS IN STATE-LEVEL POLICY REGARDING CIVIC EDUCATION

In June 2006, The Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) conducted a policy scan to define the current state of citizenship education. The study found that states were emphasizing knowledge of civics and government, obtained through traditional classroom instruction. Civic knowledge is necessary, but not sufficient; citizens also need skills and dispositions to sustain and enhance American democracy. These three competencies—knowledge, skills and dispositions—are at the heart of civic education. Read more.

Research to Practice:

IN USE: THE CIVIC MISSION OF SCHOOLS REPORT

Four years after its original publication, The Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) report is being used daily to inform practice and influence policy. It is being widely disseminated and used in a number of innovative ways including serving as the basis for discussion at many state summits on civic education that have occurred since 2003; as required reading in teacher education courses; and, as an advocacy tool for those seeking to create or support civic education policy.Read more.

April 1st, 2007
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