Political socialization in the classroom revisited: The Kids Voting program

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Can a civic education program have a short-term impact on political awareness of students and also lead to higher turnout by their parents? This political socialization study evaluates a program, used by 2.3 million students in 1994, that was designed to achieve both goals. Responses to a random survey of 24,976 participants in the Kids Voting program indicate that most students followed the election campaign closely and found the KV program to be enjoyable and useful. Analysis of non-equivalent control groups shows a slight gain in turnout in areas where schools used the program, compared to areas where it was not used. The study also suggests Kids Voting may have several secondary benefits, such as increased student use of the news media and increased discussions of public affairs with family and friends—activities which are linked to long-term political socialization. It remains unclear whether any changes in student attitudes associated with the program are simply short-term in nature.


Copyright 1998 Elsevier

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The Social Science Journal

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Simon, James & Merrill, Bruce D. (1998). "Political socialization in the classroom revisited: The Kids Voting program." The Social Science Journal, 35(1), 29-42.