benefits of service-learning and student government

(Durham, NC): My colleagues and I argue that civic experiences in adolescence make young people into active, effective, and responsible citizens–participants in politics and civil society. However, most students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers are less concerned about civic education than about getting kids successfully through high school and college. Their priorities are understandable. One third of adolescents do not graduate from high school, and those who drop out face very bad prospects. Thus I’m delighted to announce new research showing that two civic experiences–service-learning and student government–substantially increase the odds that students will complete high school and college on time. Presumably, we can enhance adolescents’ motivations and sense of connection to school by giving them opportunities to serve and lead. (These are results from two new CIRCLE working papers by Alberto D├ívila and Marie T. Mora.)