by Hugh McIntosh & Marco A. Muñoz
In Working Paper #69, the authors examine the civic engagement outcomes that Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in Louisville, KY, has chosen to promote in its students. Using a large sample in an urban school district, the study finds that the most important predictors of youth civic engagement were community service, political discussion, and environmental conservation. It reinforces the claims that community service, discussion of politics, and nonsport extracurricular activities boost civic engagement. As the authors suggest, the outcomes constitute a vision of civic engagement that sees youth as well-rounded citizens capable of engaging in civil, political, and problem-solving activities, both individually and socially. The findings provide intriguing evidence of the potential value of environmental conservation, conflict resolution skill, and character education as pathways to civic engagement.