Previous research held that poor youth tend to either vote or get involved in political activism such as peaceful protests, but not generally both. The new study, however, found a connection between political activism and the ballot box.
"This study changes our understanding of youths' political behavior," said Matthew Diemer, associate professor of education and lead researcher on the project.
The study is scheduled to run in the November/December print edition of the research journal Child Development.
It's well known that young people from poor and working-class families tend to vote less often than affluent youth. Diemer and doctoral student Cheng-Hsien Li, both from MSU's College of Education, set out to explore the factors involved in getting low-income youth engaged in politics.
They analyzed a sample from the national Civic and Political Health Survey, which gauges young people's attitudes about government and sociopolitical issues. Their sample included 665 surveys from low-income participants under age 25.
Diemer said he controlled for civic and political knowledge, as young people who know more about these issues tend to be more engaged.
The researchers found that it was largely discussions with peers and parents – and not the influence of teachers – that fueled political engagement among low-income youth.
In some cases, Diemer said, individual schools or school districts may choose to steer clear of emphasizing issues such as social justice and racism in civics class. In other cases, civics teachers may not feel comfortable discussing potentially controversial issues with their students.
If civics teachers had more autonomy and freedom to engage students in discussions about politics and social-justice issues, Diemer said it would likely affect their participation in politics.
"The traditional civics class focuses on things like knowing the three branches of government. That's still important, obviously, but I think it's also important for students to understand what motivates people to participate in political and social issues and to have lasting commitments," Diemer said.
"If we can have teachers spend time on this new type of civics," he added, "then maybe we can get a generation of younger people who are more engaged politically."
Matthew Diemer | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy