Yesterday, CIRCLE released a new major study on the civic engagement of young people who are not in school or college. CIRCLE has compiled recommendations, informed by our conversations with some of these young people. The following is a summary of these recommendations (which can also be found in the report):
- Provide civic education opportunities for all youth, including interactive pedagogies, such as discussion.
- Provide opportunities to all youth to learn and practice skills like organizing, deliberation, and research.
- Bring current issues into the classroom and draw connections between course content and current issues.
- Engagement activities should be meaningful (teachers should, for instance, tell students why they are doing the activities they are doing) and empowering.
Youth Programs in schools and communities can:
- Provide opportunities to draw connections between individually focused activities and broader social causes and issues.
- Draw connections between formal politics and real life experiences.
- Emphasize the impact participants can make during recruitment.
Nonprofit groups can:
- ASK youth to engage, and don’t assume all youth are on campuses.
- Consider offering financial incentives to encourage participation and allow youth to spend more time on engagement.
Civic and Political Programs can:
- Frame civic skills as job skills, and point out the types of available jobs that contribute to making positive change. See CIRCLE’s evaluation of the YouthBuild leadership program here.
- Support programs that offer recruitment and incentives to participate, safe places for debate and discussion, opportunities to learn skills that are valuable for employment and civic life, and/or give opportunities for young people to improve communities for the next generation.
- Broaden the definition of civic engagement, especially to include informal helping behaviors
- Broaden the definition of civic knowledge to include facts and ideas obtained from ordinary life experience
- Develop measures to document people’s experiences with civic institutions and more fully understand pathways and potential pipelines for engagement
Join CIRCLE for a twitter chat about this topic on Monday August 27th at 3pm EDT using the hashtag #YouthTruth, where you can discuss reactions and implications from the report, as well as answer any questions you may have about the report. You can also follow CIRCLE at @CivicYouth.