Why Civics Is About More Than Citizenship



Amid stagnant performance on civics exams and abysmal youth voter turnout, one group has endeavored to make the U.S. citizenship exam a high-school graduation requirement in every state.


Only one in five Americans aged 18 through 29 cast a ballot in last year’s elections, marking 2014 as having the lowest youth voter-turnout in 40 years. Some reason that young Americans are apathetic about public affairs. Others argue that cynicism about the electoral process is what’s keeping young adults from the polls: They’re so disillusioned with politics they’ve simply given up on it.

Given Millennials’ lifestyle habits and the general public’s ever-growing skepticism of people in power, perennially low voter turnout may seem inevitable. But perhaps schools are largely to blame for the rather pathetic participation numbers; perhaps young adults’ ignorance of civic affairs helps explain why so few of them cast their votes. Perhaps that means change is possible.