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Presented to a Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council April 13, 2004 Lenore Yaffee Garcia Director, International Affairs Staff U.S. Department of.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented to a Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council April 13, 2004 Lenore Yaffee Garcia Director, International Affairs Staff U.S. Department of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented to a Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council April 13, 2004 Lenore Yaffee Garcia Director, International Affairs Staff U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Democracy in the Americas through Civic Education: What the United States is Learning from Empirical Research

2 Overview Quality education and civic learning are fundamental to democracy Findings from research Knowledge and skills Political engagement Community engagement Trust Schools can make a difference – effective approaches

3 Ways that Education Contributes to Democracy “Education is key to strengthening democratic institutions, promoting the development of human potential, and alleviating poverty and fostering greater understanding among our peoples. To achieve these ends, it is essential that a quality education be available to all, including girls and women, rural inhabitants, and minorities.” (Art. 16) “Special attention shall be given to the development of programs and activities for the education of children and youth as a means of ensuring the continuance of democratic values, including liberty and social justice.” (Art. 27) Quality Education for All Education in Civic Knowledge, Skills, and Values

4 Quality of Education Quality measured by results—student learning In the United States: mediocre student achievement. persistent gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. In Latin America: only one in three finish secondary school. one-third repeat a grade or drop out before completing 6 th grade. access has improved; the real problem is poor quality.

5 Math and Science Achievement of Eighth Graders Math Singapore 604 Korea 587 Chinese Taipei 585 Hong Kong 582 Japan 579 U.S. 502 Chile 392 Philippines 345 Morocco 337 South Africa 275 Science Chinese Taipei 569 Singapore 568 Hungary 552 Japan 550 Korea 549 U.S. 502 Chile 420 Philippines 345 Morocco 323 South Africa 243 Average is significantly higher than U.S. Average is significantly lower than U.S. Average is significantly higher than U.S. Average is significantly lower than U.S.

6 Measuring Civic Education Knowledge Skills and Behaviors Attitudes and Values *National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) – “The Nation’s Report Card” – examines civics achievement *IEA Civic Education Study examines each of these dimensions

7 The IEA Civic Education Study The most rigorous research on knowledge, attitudes, and expected behavior of young people ever conducted. Wealth of data: Scores on test of knowledge, skills Survey of student attitudes, beliefs Information on student background Teacher responses on classroom practices OAS 2004 study added data on curriculum standards and looked in-depth at four countries.

8 About 75% of US fourth, eighth, and 12 th graders lack proficiency in civic knowledge (NAEP 1999). About one-third of high school seniors lack basic understanding of how government works (NAEP 1999). Students in high-poverty schools scored lower than those in low-poverty schools (NAEP 1999). Yet, overall, ninth grade students in the United States performed well when compared with students in the other 27 participating countries on civic knowledge (IEA, 1999). However, wider gaps in civic knowledge and skills among U.S. students. U.S. students did especially well on civic “skills,” like understanding a brief political article or cartoon. Civic Knowledge and Skills in US

9 4 0 10080604020 406080 100 Percentage at or below Basic Percentage at or above Proficient Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12 353922 304821 2 314621 2 Percentage Below Basic Percentage At Basic Percentage at Proficient Percentage at Advanced SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress Percentage of students within each civics achievement level range for the nation: 1998 NAEP

10 Source IEA Civic Education Study 1999 Results from IEA Civics Study


12 Schools can make a difference Students who studied social studies almost every day had higher scores. Schools that model democratic processes in classrooms, by creating an open climate for discussion of issues, are most effective in promoting civic knowledge, engagement. Students who participated in meetings or activities sponsored by any type of organization, even if they participated only a few times a month, had higher civic knowledge than students who did not participate at all. Students who engaged in non-school activities directly related to academics did better than their peers who did not. (Source: NCES 2001)

13 Political Engagement of U.S.Youth Percentage of Persons Voting in Presidential Elections 1972-2000 (Source: US Census Bureau) The percentage of young Americans that vote in presidential elections has been falling since 1972. On one survey, almost half of US youth said voting is not important.

14 Students’ Reports on Expected Activities as an Adult

15 Community Engagement Young people more involved in community service, volunteering than in the past. In 2000, 81% of college freshmen said they had volunteered (up from 2/3 in 1989). 46% of US high schools offer service learning. US students more likely to say they have volunteered than those in any other country.

16 Trust US students trust government more than those in Chile, but trust the media less than those in Colombia or Chile. Minority students in U.S. are less trusting of government, less optimistic about their ability to make a difference (CIRCLE-CEG Youth Survey 2002). Percent of Students 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 ChilePortugalColombiaU.S. TV News Nat’l Gov’t Percentage of 14 year-olds reporting they always trust television news and their national government

17 How are US students learning? Students more likely to report passive activities such as reading textbooks than active learning experiences. 85% of students reported being encouraged to make up their own minds. Two-thirds reported being encouraged to discuss political or social issues that people differ on. Television was the primary source that 9 th grade students relied on to obtain information about politics. (NCES 2001)

18 Effective Approaches Provide instruction about government by doing more than teaching rote facts Roadblock: Crowded curriculum, non-skilled teacher Incorporate discussion of relevant current issues, including controversial topics Roadblock: Teachers apprehensive, fear sanctions (Source: Carnegie-CIRCLE 2003)

19 Effective Approaches, cont’d. Link community service to formal instruction Promote extracurricular activities that involve young people in schools or communities Encourage students to participate in school governance Simulate democratic processes (voting, trials, mock legislative deliberations, diplomacy) (Source: Carnegie-CIRCLE 2003)

20 School culture linked to democracy Show respect and tolerance for ideas Encourage independent thinking Give real problems to solve Encourage teamwork Arm students with academic skills

21 Conclusions Civic education alone is not enough (institutional framework, social and economic policies, education) Good civic education – content, context, opportunities for effective engagement and expression Launch national dialogue, cross-national dialogue High-quality research supports good policy Engage young people through issues they care about and media they favor.

22 Media encouraging youth participation In January 2004, MTV: Music Television announced the official launch of the "Choose or Lose 2004" campaign to help mobilize more than 20 million young adults aged 18 to 30 to vote in the 2004 election. The campaign slogan is "20 Million Loud."

23 Strengthening Democracy in the Americas through Civic Education. Organization of American States, Washington, D.C., 2004. An empirical analysis of IEA Civic assessment for four countries, highlighting the views of students and teachers. The Civic Mission of Schools. Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), 2003. The report is based on a series of meetings involving some of the nation’s mot distinguished scholars and practitioners in this area. Citizenship and Education in 28 Countries. Judith Torney-Purta et. al., International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievment (IEA), 2001. Comparative study of the civic knowledge of 14 year-olds from 28 countries. What Democracy Means to Ninth-Graders: U.S. Results from the International IEA Civic Education Study: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2001. This report focuses on the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of U.S. students as well as the school and classroom context of civic education. NAEP 1998 Civics: Report Card for the Nation. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 1999. Reports on the civic knowledge of U.S. fourth, eighth and twelfth graders. Main Sources

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