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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So, What Next? Recommendations for Working with Young People in Communities

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):

Schools can:

  • 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:

Civic and Political Programs can:

Policymakers can:

  • 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.

Researchers can:

  • 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.

2 Responses to “So, What Next? Recommendations for Working with Young People in Communities”

  1. AEI Citizenship – “That’s not democracy.” Says:

    [...] Read the whole report–including a set of recommendations–here. [...]

  2. Peter Levine on Super PAC game theory | anotherpanacea Says:

    [...] Not a post, per se, but a New York Times article on non-college youth: Struggling Young Adults Pose a Challenge for Campaigns. CIRCLE’s report was the impetus for the article, and Levine is quoted: “Extensive research shows that if you ask young people to volunteer or vote, they respond at high rates.” 60% of American young people will attempt college in some form, but only about half of them will attain a bachelors degree, so there’s good reason to worry that civic engagement is heavily correlated with educational attainment. What can we do to correct that trend? (CIRCLE has some ideas.) [...]

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