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Political Socialization in a Media-Saturated World

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Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah

The studies that comprise Political Socialization in a Media Saturated World synthesize, question, and update our knowledge of political socialization that has accumulated over the past 40 years of related research. The scholarship advances innovative theoretical perspectives and develops new models of the socialization process that revolve around the key social structures of family, media, peers, and school. The Hierarchy Model of Political Socialization, in particular, provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for organizing and analyzing youth responses to the political. With research that spans multiple election cycles across nearly a decade, and data drawn from a national panel study that allows for cross-generational comparison, the findings and models of political socialization presented provide the most comprehensive and in-depth examination of youth political socialization that exists to date. This book provides a foundation and research agenda for examining the Millennial generation in the coming years as these citizens mature to adults and become the driving force of society and our polity.
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Chapter Six: State Policies for Civic Education

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CHAPTER SIX

State Policies FOR Civic Education

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

PETER LEVINE AND KEI KAWASHIMA-GINSBERG



A number of studies have found that students exposed to high-quality civic learning experiences in K–12 schools gain knowledge, skills, and habits of participation. These opportunities, however, are provided very unequally and inadequately. While all states have policies intended to provide civic education to their students, states’ policies vary significantly. Some states require every student to take one or more civics courses and pass state tests; some do neither. All states have adopted certain standards for civic education, yet they differ in content and emphasis. However, the variation in state policies is not related to either the civic learning experiences that students receive or to graduates’ knowledge, skills, and habits. Therefore, as we argue in this chapter, the next frontier for those concerned about students’ civic education is to address the gap between policies and practices in our schools.

The literature on policies for civic education is not extensive, but several rigorous studies have found the same pattern. In each study, experiencing high-quality civic education (as defined in Gibson & Levine, 2003, and Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, 2012) is related to the outcomes that the investigators chose to investigate, usually a combination of students’ knowledge of civics and politics and their actual participation or planned engagement in...

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