What We’re Reading

Every few weeks, GC picks out a selection of articles that are relevant to our work and to the civics education space as a whole. We at GC love to expand our learning in every aspect of what we do, and we hope you enjoy our selections!

Put Me In Coach: Reworking Social Studies for Participatory Democracy, Education Week.
In this article, a social studies teacher from New York argues that “knowledge, skills, and values are necessary aspects of a good civic education but the most important element has been left out — action.” The article is a comprehensive, urgent, and inspiring case for bringing action civics to every student.

Researchers Accidentally Found One Way to Help Kids Grow Up to Be Voters, New York Magazine.
A new study in the American Political Science Review analyzes the impact of Fast Track, a comprehensive program to develop children’s social skills between first and tenth grades. The study finds that students who participated in Fast Track, and developed stronger social skills than peers in a control group, were significantly more likely to vote as adults, even though this was not one of the program’s intended or predicted outcomes.

To Fix Voting Machines, Hackers Tear Them Apart. Wired.
Researchers from around the country came together recently to test the security of U.S. voting machines and educate the public about important vulnerabilities of voting technology at a workshop called DefCon Voting Village, in Las Vegas. The event drew attention to the fact that most voting machines in the U.S. are inadequately secured, and the event organizers hope that bringing a community together around the topic can lead to more rapid development of solutions.

The Time for Engaging Citizens in Democracy Is Now, New America.
Signs of of widespread disillusionment with democratic governance are troubling, but promise may lie in democratic innovations like Participatory Budgeting, the authors of this piece argue. The article discusses growing enthusiasm for local civic innovations, and present an overview of the global landscape of Participatory Budgeting in particular.

For First Time, Millennials And Gen X Were A Majority Of Electorate In 2016. NPR.
This article reports on a recently published Pew Research report announcing that 2016 was the first election year in which Millennials and Generation Z (those ages 18–35 and 36–51 respectively) cast more votes than baby boomers and members of older generations. The article raises many questions about how shifting demographics could impact the nation’s politics.