By Jan Goehring
A new study, "Democracy for Some: The Civic Opportunity Gap in High School" raises some very concerning issues regarding civic education. The report shows that high school students who are more academically successful or white and those with higher socioeconomic status have more civic learning opportunities in school. Those students most in need of civic skills and resources aren't getting them. Access to these kinds of lessons can impact civic engagement and voting.
"It's a stark illustration of how unequal political participation is in America," says Peter Levine, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, also known as CIRCLE. "We need to have a discussion in this country about our priorities and make sure democracy is one of them," as reported in USA Today.
The study makes several policy recommendations to address the civic learning gap including professional development and curricular support for teachers to improve civic content, making best practices available to all populations and assessing the degree to which students are receiving civic learning.