Among others, college needs to educate students to be good citizens. According to a new report released on Wednesday (yesterday) by the Educational Testing Service, stratification by income and education levels may have dire consequences for the long-term health of civic activities like voting and volunteering. I found out about the report from The Chronicle of Higher Education. The following three paragraphs are cited from the Chronicle.

“Age, affluence, and education, the study found, are strong indicators of whether a person is civically engaged and interested in public affairs. The report is based largely on existing data, including federal education statistics and Census data.”

“In the 2008 presidential election, 83 percent of adults with advanced degrees voted, while only 39 percent of adults who did not finish high school did. Among young adults especially, education appears to shape not just the likelihood of voting, but also interest in civic issues: College graduates reported paying greater attention to public affairs than did people who did not finish high school.”

“Those gaps and other indicators of flagging civic involvement are cause for concern, said the report’s authors, Richard J. Coley, director of the Educational Testing Service’s Policy Information Center, and Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies. Indeed, colleges and universities can play a role in improving civic engagement “by encouraging voting and civic participation, including through community service,” the authors wrote.”

Those numbers mean that only about one in five people with advanced degrees voted. This is still too little and too few. The more people vote, the better the outcome of the elections. “The better” here means that the outcome will better reflect the choices of the majority, as it should be in a democracy.

How do we change things? I believe better education is the key. Yes, America needs better education, starting with elementary school, up to high school (and beyond).

This is an election year. There are both local elections and the presidential election. Don’t forget to vote! It is your right and your duty as an American citizen.

Filed under: College needs

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