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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CIRCLE E-Update February 2013

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New Report Challenges Commonly Held Beliefs About Young Americans

Last week, CIRCLE, with the National Conference on Citizenship, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and Mobilize.org, released The Millennials Civic Health Index, which paints a comprehensive picture of young Americans 18 to 29. The report highlights the diverse ways in which Millennials are taking action in their communities beyond the voting booth, online and offline, across different regions of the United States.

Find out detailed findings here and check out a video of CIRCLE Researcher & Youth Coordinator Abby Kiesa discussing the findings on CSPAN.

Two CIRCLE Fact Sheets Examine Civic Education and Youth Political Participation

In January, CIRCLE released a large national survey of young Americans which showed that most young adults who voted in 2012 could choose an issue that was important to them. The findings indicate a clear relationship between respondents’ high school civics education experiences and their knowledge of campaign issues and political participation in the 2012 presidential election.

CIRCLE also reviewed the measures and data from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) civics assessment. This new fact sheet examines how to interpret the results of NAEP civics assessment, which is often misinterpreted. The results do not show that American youth have low civic knowledge but do show which students perform better and worse from the norm for their grade, how students’ knowledge has changed over time, which educational practices are related to higher scores, and how well students understand specific topics.

How Do Young People Feel About Immigration Reform?

Recent analysis from a post-election survey of 4,483 young Americans (18-24) indicates that only a relatively small proportion of young adults chose immigration as their top issue in 2012, but those young people overwhelmingly favored creating paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Read the fact sheet here.

Data indicate that first and second generation youth formed a significant part of the constituency for immigration reform.Two thirds of respondents from recent immigrant backgrounds recognized that President Obama was more likely to allow immigrants to remain in the country, and a vast majority (81.6%) felt that President Obama was in touch with people like themselves. This suggests that immigrant youth generally felt that President Obama shared their opinion in favor of creating a path to citizenship.

2012 Registration for the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) Closes March 15th

CIRCLE’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, NSLVE, offers colleges and universities an opportunity to measure student registration and voting rates and to study the effectiveness of educational programs designed to increase civic learning and engagement in democracy. Find the Association for Institutional Research
feature articleon NSLVE.

By participating, your institution can join an innovative national research initiative. The deadline of March 15th is fast approaching, and we are currently working with campuses to customize reports. It’s free, easy, confidential, and protective of student privacy rights. Learn more and sign up here!

New Book By Melissa Bass Discusses National Service in Historical Context

Melissa Bass has published The Politics and Civics of National Service: Lessons from the Civilian Conversation Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2013). This book originated with a CIRCLE grant and two CIRCLE Working Papers (numbers 11 and 12. By describing three federal service initiatives, her book helps readers to think about broader changes in the definition of “citizenship,” the aims of government, prevailing ideas about education, poverty, youth development, and more.

Stay connected to CIRCLE on facebook and twitter to learn more.

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