Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Conor Dowling

Relational Format



Over the past decade or so, a community of civic education advocacy organizations have been created. These various organizations, while varying on methodology, have signified a common support of the 2003 report, The Civic Mission of the Schools, and have based their organizations' foundations on the main proposals found in the report. Each organization agrees that American civic education has been on the decline in recent years. They argue that this decline warrants education reform because civic education is the key to maintaining American democracy and that the public school system is the best institution to teach civic skills. The organizations also agree that the main goal of civic education is to teach students how to comprehend current political issues in order to produce more confident and, consequently, more active citizens. Two major organizations have been successful in passing civic education legislation, yet focus on improving traditional civic education in the confines of the classroom or focus on introducing an entirely new curriculum based on the American citizenship test. However, the advocacy organizations have shown support for the 2003 report that proposes a multi-faceted approach to improve civic education. A multi-faceted approach includes improvement in the classroom as well as participation in government styled extracurricular activities. This research project set out to test whether or not there is an impact on political activism as a result of civic education. A complementary hypothesis is presented that a multi-faceted approach to civic education is more effective than classroom instruction alone. A survey was created to test respondents' amount of civic education, political activism, political knowledge, and civic proficiency. As the work will show, the survey data indicates support for the complimentary hypothesis that civic education is most successful when a multi-faceted approach is used.



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