Education and Civic Return on Investment | Daniel Douglas | TEDxStocktonUniversity

Connecting the impact of civic involvement on economic and educational attainment

Good evening and thanks for indulging me a few moments of your time tonight i want to talk about civics and i told some of my friends i was coming here to do that and they got a little confused but some folks conjured up the sort of romantic ideal of the time gone by as illustrated by these two norman rockwell paintings showing citizens getting up a town hall

Meeting expressing themselves their opinions and exercising the right to freedom of speech it’s a great contrast what we’re seeing in a number of our communities today the violence the anger has just gotten out of hand and there’s just this great deal of or there’s a real need to have civic civil discourse and return some civility to our public life and to be able

To talk to each other in a real and honest way without getting crazy but what we hear a lot about and i call the civic roi civic return on investment but what we hear a lot about now is higher education return on investment we hear a lot about it here in stockton and we were concerned about whether the dollars we pay in in college tuition and fees are getting a

Good return your studies about which colleges which universities which majors produce the best return on investment and tonight i want to help make that connection between higher education roi and civic roi and what we found doing some research on this is that new jerseyans and most americans know precious little about government and politics and it’s a shame and

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Let me share some of the research with you youth center study conducted by professors linda warden and mackey avery and in stockton poly institute found that only twenty-six percent of those surveyed could name john roberts as the chief justice of the united states supreme court and it doesn’t get better a university of pennsylvania study through the annenberg

Center for public policy found that only thirty-five percent the name one branch of the federal government and only thirty-six percent could name all three still doesn’t get better an xavier university study found that thirty-three percent of the public surveyed could not pass the civics portion of naturalization test but those who actually apply for citizenship

And actually take the test become citizens only three percent fail in another youth center study found that fifty-five percent of the public have had some civics class either in high school or college eighty-nine percent of them have this in high school sixty-six percent don’t have a civics or government class in college or university now what we found and this

Is why there’s a civic return on investment is that those who’ve had some civic education were more likely to follow the news we’re more likely to vote we’re more likely to contribute to a candidate or campaign they’re more likely to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or write a letter that our public official or to sign a petition advocating some policy

Change in their government now on the other hand you know we think college is about getting jobs and you’re training people to be more employable and part of that’s true but we also found that a survey of employers by the heart research associates that eighty-six percent of the employer surveyed said no matter what the major no matter what the major students should

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Take courses that build the civic knowledge skills and judgment essential for contributing to a democratic society so now we’re making that connection between civic roi and higher education roi educators and employers are agreement are in agreement that we need more civic education and our colleges and universities and you know it’s not just the recitation effects

It’s not just you know the supreme court justice name or how many branches of government were some scoring a test it’s also about connecting to our civic heritage as citizens whether we’re new citizens or old citizens we need to be able to connect to george washington to abraham lincoln the john kennedy to ronald reagan those of you may recall our have studied

At some point john kennedy’s stirring words on citizenship in his inaugural address in nineteen sixty wotton famously said ask not what your country can do for you that’s what you can do for your country and ronald reagan twenty years later frequently used a term from church and john winthrop calling on the imagery of a city on a hill on the eve of his election

Reagan said i believe that americans are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining city on a hill as were those long ago settlers these visitors to that city on the potomac do not come as white or black red or yellow they are not jews or christians conservatives or liberals or democrats or republicans they are americans awed by what has gone before proud

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Of what for them is still a shining city on a hill thank you

Transcribed from video
Education and Civic Return on Investment | Daniel Douglas | TEDxStocktonUniversity By TEDx Talks