Civic education makes ‘a powerful difference’ in creating young voters

April 1, 2019 |

While youth get-out-the vote efforts often focus on college campuses, experts say starting in high school may be a more promising strategy for creating engaged voters.

“It’s not going to change things overnight, but I think if there was one thing that the community or country could do to invest in youth participation in voting, I think improving civic education is probably the first thing,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. “And then everything else kind of flows from there.”

Wisconsin is among the few states that does not require high school students to take a civic education course before graduating. Wisconsin requires high school students to have three years of social studies. High school students also are required to pass a civics test to graduate — the same 100 questions that immigrants must answer to gain citizenship.

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