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Political Participation Exercises as a Means to Teach Civic Skills, Engage Students and Recruit Majors
Unformatted Document Text:  politics and participation takes away from the larger understanding of the theories and concepts we are striving to convey. However, in the latter years of the twentieth century, the alarms began to sound as it was feared that civil society was disappearing from our American fabric. The increasing awareness of the disengagement of Americans, especially American youth in the post-Vietnam War era, was unnerving and made many question the future of American civil society, and more importantly, American democracy. What followed was an insurgence of political science literature on the role of education in promoting civic interest and civic skills in our under age 25 population. The American Political Science Association (APSA) has thus taken a clear stance: it is our role as political science instructors to advocate political participation and civic engagement in our college and university classrooms. In 1997, they erected a civic education program and a standing committee dedicated to civic engagement. This decision followed on the heels of a Carnegie Foundation report that noted a crisis in education, due in part from a failure to provide civic education at not only the K-12 level, but also at the college and university level (Hepburn, Niemi, and Chapman, 2000). Today, the APSA website states: Education for civic engagement and responsive governance were founding objectives of the political science profession at the beginning of the 20th century and remain essential for the 21st century. Supporting and sustaining quality civic education has been an important theme throughout the history of APSA (www.apsanet.org). Thus, the largest organization of American political scientists has clearly stated that it is indeed our role to engage in civic education and to encourage our students to become not just educated political scientists, but also responsible political participants. 3

Authors: Lupo, Lindsey. and Griffin, Rebecca Brandy.
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politics and participation takes away from the larger understanding of the theories and concepts
we are striving to convey.
However, in the latter years of the twentieth century, the alarms began to sound as it was
feared that civil society was disappearing from our American fabric. The increasing awareness
of the disengagement of Americans, especially American youth in the post-Vietnam War era,
was unnerving and made many question the future of American civil society, and more
importantly, American democracy. What followed was an insurgence of political science
literature on the role of education in promoting civic interest and civic skills in our under age 25
population.
The American Political Science Association (APSA) has thus taken a clear stance: it is
our role as political science instructors to advocate political participation and civic engagement
in our college and university classrooms. In 1997, they erected a civic education program and a
standing committee dedicated to civic engagement. This decision followed on the heels of a
Carnegie Foundation report that noted a crisis in education, due in part from a failure to provide
civic education at not only the K-12 level, but also at the college and university level (Hepburn,
Niemi, and Chapman, 2000). Today, the APSA website states: Education for civic engagement
and responsive governance were founding objectives of the political science profession at the
beginning of the 20th century and remain essential for the 21st century. Supporting and
sustaining quality civic education has been an important theme throughout the history of APSA
(www.apsanet.org). Thus, the largest organization of American political scientists has clearly
stated that it is indeed our role to engage in civic education and to encourage our students to
become not just educated political scientists, but also responsible political participants.
3


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