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Political Socialization Essay Research Paper AbstractLow voting

Political Socialization Essay, Research Paper AbstractLow voting turnouts among young adults has become a trend apparent around the globe. This trend is particularly evident in the United States. Various research projects have been carried out in attempt to discover how to involve younger generations in politics.

Political Socialization Essay, Research Paper

AbstractLow voting turnouts among young adults has become a trend apparent around the globe. This trend is particularly evident in the United States. Various research projects have been carried out in attempt to discover how to involve younger generations in politics. It has been proven that the implementation of specialized programs, during post-elementary through high-school years does have a positive influence on political involvement and interest of young adults. This research attempts to impose specialized programs in both the American and Dutch educational institutions. Through implementing our Youth Political Involvement Program we hope to increase voter turnout in these democracies, as well as political interest and involvement. In order to assess the long-term effects of our designed program, we are carrying out a longitudinal study that will determine the effect of the program in adult political involvement.Contents Introduction .2 Relevance 2,3 Theory .3,4 References …4,5,6 Variables .6,7 Research Problem 7 Hypothesis …7 Methods and Sampling .8,9 Conclusion ..9,10 Literature .11IntroductionThe prospect of a democracy without citizens is a sobering oxymoron. The four-decade decline in voting in the United States demonstrates a problem in lack of interest of citizens (only 49 percent voted in 1996). As stated in the NASS Millenium Project, [W]hen it comes to participating in the democratic process; when it comes to young people s attitudes about citizenship and voting or politics and government, their distrust, disinterest and ignorance is profound and this is largely the responsibility of adult leaders in our major institutions. Another country, which is lacking in voting turnout, is The Netherlands. In acknowledging the lack of active voters we can conclude that a proper study is necessary to encourage the public to vote, and more importantly to properly educate a State s young citizens so that they are well informed and interested in political involvement. This political stimulating of the youth is described by a process of socialization. In the text of Comparative Government and Politics, Hague defines political socialization as the process through which we learn about politics. It concerns the acquisition of emotions, identities and skills as well as information. The main dimensions of socialization are what people learn, when they learn it, and from whom. While family and home background are often viewed as the primary agents of socialisation, schools are seen as a significant secondary agent, along with the mass media exposure, the political context of the times and the role of the individual as an independent factor in the process. In providing a specialised program: Youth Political Involvement, children can learn about practical politics through mock voting and other organised activities such as role playing, active debating of political issues, discussions on candidates and policy-making, amongst other things. Considering the vastness of this topic and the difficulty in conducting a research that would produce effective and accurate results, the focus of this study must be as narrow as possible. The focus of this research will be on the effects of a specialised program of political socialisation in 24 public schools across the Netherlands.RelevanceAristotle denoted the democratic citizen, in his Constitution of Athens, as an individual who is genuinely informed about politics interested in the developments of current political events. Effectively, this definition suited the Greek democracy, which was considerably smaller and had the advantage that popular mandate could more rapidly and effectively legislate. Under this political system there was a higher expectation of the citizen to partake actively in the politics of the society, and a pronounced incentive to form an opinion based on an informed decision. Contemporary Democracies, however, no longer stimulate such active reactions. Many people are politically agnostic and others build up a long-term party affinity to compensate for their lack of knowledge of the different parties/candidates running in the elections. The efficacy of a democracy depends on the attitudes of the voters towards elections and other forms of political participation. This research investigates whether active political involvement can be reinstituted through political socialization in schools. From literature we were able to conclude that specialized programs focusing on political socialization did seem to increase voter turnout and the short-term involvement in political decision-making of both adults and children. Unfortunately, all the relevant studies found were conducted in the US. We are thus particularly interested to examine whether the same kind of specialized program will increase voter turnout and political involvement in the Netherlands. Youth participation in both communities remains distinctly apolitical. Considering that the world s young population is presently at its largest, it is essential that the youth be encouraged to actively participate in voting procedures and political decision-making as this new generation will redefine society in the 21st century. TheoryThe theory underlying this research can be described through a quote from the NASS millennium project: If one does not learn the lessons of citizenship in the early, formative years, if one does not develop Tocqueville s habits of the heart, there is little reason to expect that one will be transformed in mid-life into a model citizen . The model citizen who is being mentioned here is one who not only participates in a democracy through voting, but one who is well-learned about current politics and takes care in voting. We therefore use the primacy view taken from Comparative Government and Politics. The primacy view of political socialization argues that basic political loyalties must be formed during early years, to therefore provide a framework for interpreting information acquired in adulthood. The graph provided below will help to define the theory that politics should be learned and ideas developed at a young age, prior to voting participation. (GRAPH)Another theory used is that discussed by Niemi and Hepburn in their article The Rebirth of Political Socialization. The article suggests that political learning should be focused on the Period of Maximum Change (ages 14-25), when the individual is old enough to understand politics, but young enough to have had little in the way of relevant public experiences. In this specific research we are focusing on the High-School years (Gr. 7-12) because as many people do not continue on to University, it would be difficult to impose a specialized program succeeding the completion of High-School (age 19-25). It is not an exaggeration to say that the strength or weakness of a democracy in the 21st century will be determined to a very large extent by the attitudes that young citizens bring into the larger society over the next decade or so. Because the political systems of our future depend on the votes of future citizens, we are focusing our research and energy in a program designed to encourage adolescents to participate in politics, as it is something which involves and holds importance for each of them individually. Thus, our subjects are young individuals who will later form the structure of their perspective nations. The task of this research is to discover, after the program has been implemented in both the U.S.A. and the Netherlands, whether the program does have a positive effect on voting turnout as we suspect it will. Furthermore, we hope to trace whether this early-learning program in the adolescent years will follow through to political participation in adult years. ReferencesFor our research it was essential to find some similar research projects that had been carried out in the past. After years of neglecting it political socialization has once again become a subject of great importance and interest in political science research. Various analyses, completed in the US, have presented that voter turnout has been continuously decreasing in the country since the 1960s. Since then there has been a rising concern on how to increase the population s political involvement and interest. Many political scientists have come to think that one of the most essential ways to achieve this goal is through political socialization. Hess and Torney state that the public school is the most important and effective instrument of political socialization in the United States. Although civic education has been an active part of school Curriculums across the US, they have failed to increase the political interest and involvement of the youth. Thus, various programs have been instituted in the attempt to teach the American youth the political information necessary for an increased involvement in politics. Of these programs there are two especially interesting ones that we will use as a basis for our own study.The Kids Voting Program, for example, was launched in Arizona in 1988 and extended statewide by 1990. This program constituted of a particular curriculum, individualized for grades K-12, that was based on cooperative learning, group problem solving, and active, hands-on experiences. Amongst other activities, elementary students were involved in role-playing and classroom elections, while middle and high school students were considering policy options, researching the positions of candidates and holding debates. Furthermore, all students were encouraged to discuss politics in their homes in order to stimulate parents interest in politics. The first study on the effects of the program was carried out in 1990 after the statewide election in Arizona. The results show that, not only was the voter turnout 3.9% higher than predicted (an estimate based on previous elections), but also that for 2.6% of the voters the program had been the determining factor in their decision to vote. A second study was then conducted to compare the areas in 11 states using KV with matched adjacent areas that did not use KV to draw results of the affect of the program. Turnout was 2.8% higher in the areas that did use the program, and again in this case 2.9% of the voters said that the KV was the determining factor in their decision to vote. The actual study described in detail in the literature, based on the KV that was used in 20 states and the District of Columbia, was conducted in 1998. Three main research questions are the focus of this particular study: (1) Was adult turnout higher in the areas where the KV program was used, compared to matched, adjacent areas that did not use the program?; (2) Did participating students actively discuss the elections in class, follow the campaign in the news media and talk about the campaign with their families? Would they want to take part of such a process again?; (3) What value, if any, did participating teachers assign to the program? The study was conducted by selecting a sample of 24,976 students from the 20 states. The participating schools were then selected at random to yield approximately the same number of respondents from grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. The classes at each of the schools were then also selected at random. The students of selected classrooms were then given a 12-question survey to fill out. The surveys for students between grades 4 and 12 received 7 additional questions on their survey concerning family decision-making patterns. The study had several limitations that devaluated the accuracy of the results. Nevertheless the results show that not only did student interest and participation in the elections increase but so did the adult turnout, which was significantly higher that the turnout in the areas that had not used the program. The second study of interest is the Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. This is an older study, carried out in 1961-62, which attempted to measure the children s early receptiveness to political concepts as evinced through cognitive and affective responses. In order to carry out this study the US was divided into four regions- Northeast, North-Central, South and West. Two cities were chosen from each region and asked to be part of the survey. Within every city the public schools were intentionally chosen from middle class and lower class areas. This study was then also conducted in the form of a questionnaire. Seeing as this was the only essential information we needed from the article the results will not be covered. A number of unmentioned articles containing information on political socialization in educational institutions, form a backbone for this research project. VariablesThis research attempts to demonstrate how political socialization effects voter turnout and an interest and active involvement in politics. Most generally it attempts to examine the existence of a causal relationship between the specialized program, Youth Political Involvement, and political involvement in later years. Moreover, we intend to find a common result in both countries despite their cultural and geographical differences. Although is this the general goal of the research we will narrow our research focus in order to simplify the study. The research will be focused on measuring whether the program, increases voter turnout. In measuring political involvement in a democratic system, political knowledge can be identified by analyzing the depth of cognition of issue-proximities and retrospective evaluations. As such, political knowledge is exactly what it states to be: the knowledge of the political. The political in turn is constituted out of policies, the polity and politics or in other words political results and decisions, various levels and natures of political systems, and political events, activities and decision making processes. It is our intent to measure the awareness of these variables, which constitute political knowledge among youth. Furthermore, our purpose is to inform young citizens in the areas where they are lacking knowledge and to keep them informed about the constant change and decisions being made about their own state as well as a general understanding of what is taking place in political systems around the world.Research Goal and ProblemThe goal of this research is to investigate whether: It is truly the process of political socialization, within educational institutions, which increases voting behavior and/or the citizen s interest and involvement in his/her political system. Hypothesis+ Political socialization, through specialized political education programs in schools, increases voter turnout in a democratic system. + These political education programs increase interest and involvement in the citizen s political system. This interest and involvement is then carries through into adulthood. Methodology and SamplingThis research plan is a behavioral, comparative study of the effects of political socialization, by the means of a specialized program, the Youth Political Involvement program (YPI), on voter turnout in the Netherlands. Various methods will be necessary to carry out both an efficient and accurate study on the effects of political socialization on voter turnout and, consequently, on the political involvement of the youth within their own political system. Voter turnout will be effectively measured during and directly succeeding local and/or regional elections. The more difficult task will be to accurately determine whether the program did in fact political socialize its participating citizens. Therefore, in order to evaluate whether the specialized program has a long-term influence on general political interest and involvement, a longitudinal study must be conducted. The voting program will focus on active and practical politics, rather than the traditional American civics class, which teaches you like rights and the constitution. [But] it does not teach you about politics and parties. The program will solely be implemented in public High schools throughout the different gemeentes of the Netherlands since High school students are old enough to grasp the political concepts, while retaining flexibility and openness towards new ideas. In order to gather a random sample that will be most representative of the general population 24 public High schools will be picked by random sample from across the Netherlands. The research hopes that a random sample will provide a representative group of Dutch High school students. The program provides a curriculum framework in which teachers will be encouraged to hold formal debates on current political events and issues, involve students in role-playing, lead discussions on policies and policy options, and have students research political parties and candidates. Since the schools will be part of one of the numerous Dutch gemeentes, whose local elections and issues they will be examining, a first study will be conducted directly succeeding local elections. Preceding local elections students will be particularly encouraged to discuss election procedures with their families and encourage their guardians to become actively involved in the voting procedure. During the first study a random sample of students will be chosen from each public school to fill out a survey. The first six questions of the survey are designed to measure student involvement in the program (e.g. How often do you participate when political and social issues debated at school.) The second part of the survey will contain about seven questions concerning family decisions making patterns and media use and efficacy questions (e.g. How often did you watch/read things about the election on television.) Furthermore, some general questions will be asked concerning their age, grade level, gender and race. From these questionnaires the research will gather basic results on the attitudes towards the program. Official results of the research question will only be gathered ten years after the start of the YPI. Subsequently studies will take place at every gemeente s election, in which the YIP is being conducted, to examine whether voter turnout increases as students in the program reach the national voting age. Assuming that there is an increase in voter turnout, the research must be able to single out the program as a determinant factor of this occurrence. In order to measure this the voting ballots during local elections will contain a box which citizens will asked to fill in if they have in some way participated in the program. The research considers parents whose political involvement was positively affected by the program as candidates for this sample as well. The results hope to show that voter turnout was positively influenced by the YPI program. Finally, ten years after the program was initiated a survey will be distributed to every household of the involved gemeentes. The first question will ask the individuals of the household whether they were in some way involved with the YPI program. Furthermore, certain general questions about their voting behavior and involvement in political decision-making will be asked. The results of these surveys attempt to examine whether the % of political involvement is higher for families that participated in the program than that of those who did not. ConclusionOur intention is to demonstrate that political socialization, in the form of an educational program, is necessary for an increased political involvement in an increasingly apolitical society such as the Netherlands. In Europe this is the generation that experiences the re-writing of history, a time when renovated political attitudes and issues are increasingly rising to the forefront of the European political and social way of life. In order to ensure the growth and development of this new political arena Europe s youth must be encouraged to take a keen interest in politics, whether that is at local, national or global levels. Political socialization is one of the main secondary factors that influence such interest and behavior and thus should be an issue of major importance within national politics and educational institutions. By instituting the YPI program we hope to provide an opportunity for increased political involvement by the youth that will carry through into the future. It goes without say that the effectiveness of this program must be periodically tested (or else abandoned.) To do so we will carry out two different surveys, one directed at students presently involved in the program, and the other to households that were at some time involved in the program. Also the adapted voting ballots will assist us in concluding whether the program has any positive effects on voter turnout. LiteratureEaston, D. Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. ICPR Edition, 1971. Flanagan, C. Youth Political Development: an Introduction. Journal of Social Issues, fall 98.Simon, J; Merril, B. Political Socialization in the classroom revisited: The Kids Voting program. : Social Science Journal, 1998, Vol. 35 Issue 1, pg 29, 14p, 3 charts.Millennium Project: American Youths and Attitudes on Politics, Citizenship, Government and Voting. AbstractLow voting turnouts among young adults has become a trend apparent around the globe. This trend is particularly evident in the United States. Various research projects have been carried out in attempt to discover how to involve younger generations in politics. It has been proven that the implementation of specialized programs, during post-elementary through high-school years does have a positive influence on political involvement and interest of young adults. This research attempts to impose specialized programs in both the American and Dutch educational institutions. Through implementing our Youth Political Involvement Program we hope to increase voter turnout in these democracies, as well as political interest and involvement. In order to assess the long-term effects of our designed program, we are carrying out a longitudinal study that will determine the effect of the program in adult political involvement.Contents Introduction .2 Relevance 2,3 Theory .3,4 References …4,5,6 Variables .6,7 Research Problem 7 Hypothesis …7 Methods and Sampling .8,9 Conclusion ..9,10 Literature .11IntroductionThe prospect of a democracy without citizens is a sobering oxymoron. The four-decade decline in voting in the United States demonstrates a problem in lack of interest of citizens (only 49 percent voted in 1996). As stated in the NASS Millenium Project, [W]hen it comes to participating in the democratic process; when it comes to young people s attitudes about citizenship and voting or politics and government, their distrust, disinterest and ignorance is profound and this is largely the responsibility of adult leaders in our major institutions. Another country, which is lacking in voting turnout, is The Netherlands. In acknowledging the lack of active voters we can conclude that a proper study is necessary to encourage the public to vote, and more importantly to properly educate a State s young citizens so that they are well informed and interested in political involvement. This political stimulating of the youth is described by a process of socialization. In the text of Comparative Government and Politics, Hague defines political socialization as the process through which we learn about politics. It concerns the acquisition of emotions, identities and skills as well as information. The main dimensions of socialization are what people learn, when they learn it, and from whom. While family and home background are often viewed as the primary agents of socialisation, schools are seen as a significant secondary agent, along with the mass media exposure, the political context of the times and the role of the individual as an independent factor in the process. In providing a specialised program: Youth Political Involvement, children can learn about practical politics through mock voting and other organised activities such as role playing, active debating of political issues, discussions on candidates and policy-making, amongst other things. Considering the vastness of this topic and the difficulty in conducting a research that would produce effective and accurate results, the focus of this study must be as narrow as possible. The focus of this research will be on the effects of a specialised program of political socialisation in 24 public schools across the Netherlands.RelevanceAristotle denoted the democratic citizen, in his Constitution of Athens, as an individual who is genuinely informed about politics interested in the developments of current political events. Effectively, this definition suited the Greek democracy, which was considerably smaller and had the advantage that popular mandate could more rapidly and effectively legislate. Under this political system there was a higher expectation of the citizen to partake actively in the politics of the society, and a pronounced incentive to form an opinion based on an informed decision. Contemporary Democracies, however, no longer stimulate such active reactions. Many people are politically agnostic and others build up a long-term party affinity to compensate for their lack of knowledge of the different parties/candidates running in the elections. The efficacy of a democracy depends on the attitudes of the voters towards elections and other forms of political participation. This research investigates whether active political involvement can be reinstituted through political socialization in schools. From literature we were able to conclude that specialized programs focusing on political socialization did seem to increase voter turnout and the short-term involvement in political decision-making of both adults and children. Unfortunately, all the relevant studies found were conducted in the US. We are thus particularly interested to examine whether the same kind of specialized program will increase voter turnout and political involvement in the Netherlands. Youth participation in both communities remains distinctly apolitical. Considering that the world s young population is presently at its largest, it is essential that the youth be encouraged to actively participate in voting procedures and political decision-making as this new generation will redefine society in the 21st century. TheoryThe theory underlying this research can be described through a quote from the NASS millennium project: If one does not learn the lessons of citizenship in the early, formative years, if one does not develop Tocqueville s habits of the heart, there is little reason to expect that one will be transformed in mid-life into a model citizen . The model citizen who is being mentioned here is one who not only participates in a democracy through voting, but one who is well-learned about current politics and takes care in voting. We therefore use the primacy view taken from Comparative Government and Politics. The primacy view of political socialization argues that basic political loyalties must be formed during early years, to therefore provide a framework for interpreting information acquired in adulthood. The graph provided below will help to define the theory that politics should be learned and ideas developed at a young age, prior to voting participation. (GRAPH)Another theory used is that discussed by Niemi and Hepburn in their article The Rebirth of Political Socialization. The article suggests that political learning should be focused on the Period of Maximum Change (ages 14-25), when the individual is old enough to understand politics, but young enough to have had little in the way of relevant public experiences. In this specific research we are focusing on the High-School years (Gr. 7-12) because as many people do not continue on to University, it would be difficult to impose a specialized program succeeding the completion of High-School (age 19-25). It is not an exaggeration to say that the strength or weakness of a democracy in the 21st century will be determined to a very large extent by the attitudes that young citizens bring into the larger society over the next decade or so. Because the political systems of our future depend on the votes of future citizens, we are focusing our research and energy in a program designed to encourage adolescents to participate in politics, as it is something which involves and holds importance for each of them individually. Thus, our subjects are young individuals who will later form the structure of their perspective nations. The task of this research is to discover, after the program has been implemented in both the U.S.A. and the Netherlands, whether the program does have a positive effect on voting turnout as we suspect it will. Furthermore, we hope to trace whether this early-learning program in the adolescent years will follow through to political participation in adult years. ReferencesFor our research it was essential to find some similar research projects that had been carried out in the past. After years of neglecting it political socialization has once again become a subject of great importance and interest in political science research. Various analyses, completed in the US, have presented that voter turnout has been continuously decreasing in the country since the 1960s. Since then there has been a rising concern on how to increase the population s political involvement and interest. Many political scientists have come to think that one of the most essential ways to achieve this goal is through political socialization. Hess and Torney state that the public school is the most important and effective instrument of political socialization in the United States. Although civic education has been an active part of school Curriculums across the US, they have failed to increase the political interest and involvement of the youth. Thus, various programs have been instituted in the attempt to teach the American youth the political information necessary for an increased involvement in politics. Of these programs there are two especially interesting ones that we will use as a basis for our own study.The Kids Voting Program, for example, was launched in Arizona in 1988 and extended statewide by 1990. This program constituted of a particular curriculum, individualized for grades K-12, that was based on cooperative learning, group problem solving, and active, hands-on experiences. Amongst other activities, elementary students were involved in role-playing and classroom elections, while middle and high school students were considering policy options, researching the positions of candidates and holding debates. Furthermore, all students were encouraged to discuss politics in their homes in order to stimulate parents interest in politics. The first study on the effects of the program was carried out in 1990 after the statewide election in Arizona. The results show that, not only was the voter turnout 3.9% higher than predicted (an estimate based on previous elections), but also that for 2.6% of the voters the program had been the determining factor in their decision to vote. A second study was then conducted to compare the areas in 11 states using KV with matched adjacent areas that did not use KV to draw results of the affect of the program. Turnout was 2.8% higher in the areas that did use the program, and again in this case 2.9% of the voters said that the KV was the determining factor in their decision to vote. The actual study described in detail in the literature, based on the KV that was used in 20 states and the District of Columbia, was conducted in 1998. Three main research questions are the focus of this particular study: (1) Was adult turnout higher in the areas where the KV program was used, compared to matched, adjacent areas that did not use the program?; (2) Did participating students actively discuss the elections in class, follow the campaign in the news media and talk about the campaign with their families? Would they want to take part of such a process again?; (3) What value, if any, did participating teachers assign to the program? The study was conducted by selecting a sample of 24,976 students from the 20 states. The participating schools were then selected at random to yield approximately the same number of respondents from grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. The classes at each of the schools were then also selected at random. The students of selected classrooms were then given a 12-question survey to fill out. The surveys for students between grades 4 and 12 received 7 additional questions on their survey concerning family decision-making patterns. The study had several limitations that devaluated the accuracy of the results. Nevertheless the results show that not only did student interest and participation in the elections increase but so did the adult turnout, which was significantly higher that the turnout in the areas that had not used the program.

The second study of interest is the Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. This is an older study, carried out in 1961-62, which attempted to measure the children s early receptiveness to political concepts as evinced through cognitive and affective responses. In order to carry out this study the US was divided into four regions- Northeast, North-Central, South and West. Two cities were chosen from each region and asked to be part of the survey. Within every city the public schools were intentionally chosen from middle class and lower class areas. This study was then also conducted in the form of a questionnaire. Seeing as this was the only essential information we needed from the article the results will not be covered. A number of unmentioned articles containing information on political socialization in educational institutions, form a backbone for this research project. VariablesThis research attempts to demonstrate how political socialization effects voter turnout and an interest and active involvement in politics. Most generally it attempts to examine the existence of a causal relationship between the specialized program, Youth Political Involvement, and political involvement in later years. Moreover, we intend to find a common result in both countries despite their cultural and geographical differences. Although is this the general goal of the research we will narrow our research focus in order to simplify the study. The research will be focused on measuring whether the program, increases voter turnout. In measuring political involvement in a democratic system, political knowledge can be identified by analyzing the depth of cognition of issue-proximities and retrospective evaluations. As such, political knowledge is exactly what it states to be: the knowledge of the political. The political in turn is constituted out of policies, the polity and politics or in other words political results and decisions, various levels and natures of political systems, and political events, activities and decision making processes. It is our intent to measure the awareness of these variables, which constitute political knowledge among youth. Furthermore, our purpose is to inform young citizens in the areas where they are lacking knowledge and to keep them informed about the constant change and decisions being made about their own state as well as a general understanding of what is taking place in political systems around the world.Research Goal and ProblemThe goal of this research is to investigate whether: It is truly the process of political socialization, within educational institutions, which increases voting behavior and/or the citizen s interest and involvement in his/her political system. Hypothesis+ Political socialization, through specialized political education programs in schools, increases voter turnout in a democratic system. + These political education programs increase interest and involvement in the citizen s political system. This interest and involvement is then carries through into adulthood. Methodology and SamplingThis research plan is a behavioral, comparative study of the effects of political socialization, by the means of a specialized program, the Youth Political Involvement program (YPI), on voter turnout in the Netherlands. Various methods will be necessary to carry out both an efficient and accurate study on the effects of political socialization on voter turnout and, consequently, on the political involvement of the youth within their own political system. Voter turnout will be effectively measured during and directly succeeding local and/or regional elections. The more difficult task will be to accurately determine whether the program did in fact political socialize its participating citizens. Therefore, in order to evaluate whether the specialized program has a long-term influence on general political interest and involvement, a longitudinal study must be conducted. The voting program will focus on active and practical politics, rather than the traditional American civics class, which teaches you like rights and the constitution. [But] it does not teach you about politics and parties. The program will solely be implemented in public High schools throughout the different gemeentes of the Netherlands since High school students are old enough to grasp the political concepts, while retaining flexibility and openness towards new ideas. In order to gather a random sample that will be most representative of the general population 24 public High schools will be picked by random sample from across the Netherlands. The research hopes that a random sample will provide a representative group of Dutch High school students. The program provides a curriculum framework in which teachers will be encouraged to hold formal debates on current political events and issues, involve students in role-playing, lead discussions on policies and policy options, and have students research political parties and candidates. Since the schools will be part of one of the numerous Dutch gemeentes, whose local elections and issues they will be examining, a first study will be conducted directly succeeding local elections. Preceding local elections students will be particularly encouraged to discuss election procedures with their families and encourage their guardians to become actively involved in the voting procedure. During the first study a random sample of students will be chosen from each public school to fill out a survey. The first six questions of the survey are designed to measure student involvement in the program (e.g. How often do you participate when political and social issues debated at school.) The second part of the survey will contain about seven questions concerning family decisions making patterns and media use and efficacy questions (e.g. How often did you watch/read things about the election on television.) Furthermore, some general questions will be asked concerning their age, grade level, gender and race. From these questionnaires the research will gather basic results on the attitudes towards the program. Official results of the research question will only be gathered ten years after the start of the YPI. Subsequently studies will take place at every gemeente s election, in which the YIP is being conducted, to examine whether voter turnout increases as students in the program reach the national voting age. Assuming that there is an increase in voter turnout, the research must be able to single out the program as a determinant factor of this occurrence. In order to measure this the voting ballots during local elections will contain a box which citizens will asked to fill in if they have in some way participated in the program. The research considers parents whose political involvement was positively affected by the program as candidates for this sample as well. The results hope to show that voter turnout was positively influenced by the YPI program. Finally, ten years after the program was initiated a survey will be distributed to every household of the involved gemeentes. The first question will ask the individuals of the household whether they were in some way involved with the YPI program. Furthermore, certain general questions about their voting behavior and involvement in political decision-making will be asked. The results of these surveys attempt to examine whether the % of political involvement is higher for families that participated in the program than that of those who did not. ConclusionOur intention is to demonstrate that political socialization, in the form of an educational program, is necessary for an increased political involvement in an increasingly apolitical society such as the Netherlands. In Europe this is the generation that experiences the re-writing of history, a time when renovated political attitudes and issues are increasingly rising to the forefront of the European political and social way of life. In order to ensure the growth and development of this new political arena Europe s youth must be encouraged to take a keen interest in politics, whether that is at local, national or global levels. Political socialization is one of the main secondary factors that influence such interest and behavior and thus should be an issue of major importance within national politics and educational institutions. By instituting the YPI program we hope to provide an opportunity for increased political involvement by the youth that will carry through into the future. It goes without say that the effectiveness of this program must be periodically tested (or else abandoned.) To do so we will carry out two different surveys, one directed at students presently involved in the program, and the other to households that were at some time involved in the program. Also the adapted voting ballots will assist us in concluding whether the program has any positive effects on voter turnout. LiteratureEaston, D. Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. ICPR Edition, 1971. Flanagan, C. Youth Political Development: an Introduction. Journal of Social Issues, fall 98.Simon, J; Merril, B. Political Socialization in the classroom revisited: The Kids Voting program. : Social Science Journal, 1998, Vol. 35 Issue 1, pg 29, 14p, 3 charts.Millennium Project: American Youths and Attitudes on Politics, Citizenship, Government and Voting. AbstractLow voting turnouts among young adults has become a trend apparent around the globe. This trend is particularly evident in the United States. Various research projects have been carried out in attempt to discover how to involve younger generations in politics. It has been proven that the implementation of specialized programs, during post-elementary through high-school years does have a positive influence on political involvement and interest of young adults. This research attempts to impose specialized programs in both the American and Dutch educational institutions. Through implementing our Youth Political Involvement Program we hope to increase voter turnout in these democracies, as well as political interest and involvement. In order to assess the long-term effects of our designed program, we are carrying out a longitudinal study that will determine the effect of the program in adult political involvement.Contents Introduction .2 Relevance 2,3 Theory .3,4 References …4,5,6 Variables .6,7 Research Problem 7 Hypothesis …7 Methods and Sampling .8,9 Conclusion ..9,10 Literature .11IntroductionThe prospect of a democracy without citizens is a sobering oxymoron. The four-decade decline in voting in the United States demonstrates a problem in lack of interest of citizens (only 49 percent voted in 1996). As stated in the NASS Millenium Project, [W]hen it comes to participating in the democratic process; when it comes to young people s attitudes about citizenship and voting or politics and government, their distrust, disinterest and ignorance is profound and this is largely the responsibility of adult leaders in our major institutions. Another country, which is lacking in voting turnout, is The Netherlands. In acknowledging the lack of active voters we can conclude that a proper study is necessary to encourage the public to vote, and more importantly to properly educate a State s young citizens so that they are well informed and interested in political involvement. This political stimulating of the youth is described by a process of socialization. In the text of Comparative Government and Politics, Hague defines political socialization as the process through which we learn about politics. It concerns the acquisition of emotions, identities and skills as well as information. The main dimensions of socialization are what people learn, when they learn it, and from whom. While family and home background are often viewed as the primary agents of socialisation, schools are seen as a significant secondary agent, along with the mass media exposure, the political context of the times and the role of the individual as an independent factor in the process. In providing a specialised program: Youth Political Involvement, children can learn about practical politics through mock voting and other organised activities such as role playing, active debating of political issues, discussions on candidates and policy-making, amongst other things. Considering the vastness of this topic and the difficulty in conducting a research that would produce effective and accurate results, the focus of this study must be as narrow as possible. The focus of this research will be on the effects of a specialised program of political socialisation in 24 public schools across the Netherlands.RelevanceAristotle denoted the democratic citizen, in his Constitution of Athens, as an individual who is genuinely informed about politics interested in the developments of current political events. Effectively, this definition suited the Greek democracy, which was considerably smaller and had the advantage that popular mandate could more rapidly and effectively legislate. Under this political system there was a higher expectation of the citizen to partake actively in the politics of the society, and a pronounced incentive to form an opinion based on an informed decision. Contemporary Democracies, however, no longer stimulate such active reactions. Many people are politically agnostic and others build up a long-term party affinity to compensate for their lack of knowledge of the different parties/candidates running in the elections. The efficacy of a democracy depends on the attitudes of the voters towards elections and other forms of political participation. This research investigates whether active political involvement can be reinstituted through political socialization in schools. From literature we were able to conclude that specialized programs focusing on political socialization did seem to increase voter turnout and the short-term involvement in political decision-making of both adults and children. Unfortunately, all the relevant studies found were conducted in the US. We are thus particularly interested to examine whether the same kind of specialized program will increase voter turnout and political involvement in the Netherlands. Youth participation in both communities remains distinctly apolitical. Considering that the world s young population is presently at its largest, it is essential that the youth be encouraged to actively participate in voting procedures and political decision-making as this new generation will redefine society in the 21st century. TheoryThe theory underlying this research can be described through a quote from the NASS millennium project: If one does not learn the lessons of citizenship in the early, formative years, if one does not develop Tocqueville s habits of the heart, there is little reason to expect that one will be transformed in mid-life into a model citizen . The model citizen who is being mentioned here is one who not only participates in a democracy through voting, but one who is well-learned about current politics and takes care in voting. We therefore use the primacy view taken from Comparative Government and Politics. The primacy view of political socialization argues that basic political loyalties must be formed during early years, to therefore provide a framework for interpreting information acquired in adulthood. The graph provided below will help to define the theory that politics should be learned and ideas developed at a young age, prior to voting participation. (GRAPH)Another theory used is that discussed by Niemi and Hepburn in their article The Rebirth of Political Socialization. The article suggests that political learning should be focused on the Period of Maximum Change (ages 14-25), when the individual is old enough to understand politics, but young enough to have had little in the way of relevant public experiences. In this specific research we are focusing on the High-School years (Gr. 7-12) because as many people do not continue on to University, it would be difficult to impose a specialized program succeeding the completion of High-School (age 19-25). It is not an exaggeration to say that the strength or weakness of a democracy in the 21st century will be determined to a very large extent by the attitudes that young citizens bring into the larger society over the next decade or so. Because the political systems of our future depend on the votes of future citizens, we are focusing our research and energy in a program designed to encourage adolescents to participate in politics, as it is something which involves and holds importance for each of them individually. Thus, our subjects are young individuals who will later form the structure of their perspective nations. The task of this research is to discover, after the program has been implemented in both the U.S.A. and the Netherlands, whether the program does have a positive effect on voting turnout as we suspect it will. Furthermore, we hope to trace whether this early-learning program in the adolescent years will follow through to political participation in adult years. ReferencesFor our research it was essential to find some similar research projects that had been carried out in the past. After years of neglecting it political socialization has once again become a subject of great importance and interest in political science research. Various analyses, completed in the US, have presented that voter turnout has been continuously decreasing in the country since the 1960s. Since then there has been a rising concern on how to increase the population s political involvement and interest. Many political scientists have come to think that one of the most essential ways to achieve this goal is through political socialization. Hess and Torney state that the public school is the most important and effective instrument of political socialization in the United States. Although civic education has been an active part of school Curriculums across the US, they have failed to increase the political interest and involvement of the youth. Thus, various programs have been instituted in the attempt to teach the American youth the political information necessary for an increased involvement in politics. Of these programs there are two especially interesting ones that we will use as a basis for our own study.The Kids Voting Program, for example, was launched in Arizona in 1988 and extended statewide by 1990. This program constituted of a particular curriculum, individualized for grades K-12, that was based on cooperative learning, group problem solving, and active, hands-on experiences. Amongst other activities, elementary students were involved in role-playing and classroom elections, while middle and high school students were considering policy options, researching the positions of candidates and holding debates. Furthermore, all students were encouraged to discuss politics in their homes in order to stimulate parents interest in politics. The first study on the effects of the program was carried out in 1990 after the statewide election in Arizona. The results show that, not only was the voter turnout 3.9% higher than predicted (an estimate based on previous elections), but also that for 2.6% of the voters the program had been the determining factor in their decision to vote. A second study was then conducted to compare the areas in 11 states using KV with matched adjacent areas that did not use KV to draw results of the affect of the program. Turnout was 2.8% higher in the areas that did use the program, and again in this case 2.9% of the voters said that the KV was the determining factor in their decision to vote. The actual study described in detail in the literature, based on the KV that was used in 20 states and the District of Columbia, was conducted in 1998. Three main research questions are the focus of this particular study: (1) Was adult turnout higher in the areas where the KV program was used, compared to matched, adjacent areas that did not use the program?; (2) Did participating students actively discuss the elections in class, follow the campaign in the news media and talk about the campaign with their families? Would they want to take part of such a process again?; (3) What value, if any, did participating teachers assign to the program? The study was conducted by selecting a sample of 24,976 students from the 20 states. The participating schools were then selected at random to yield approximately the same number of respondents from grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. The classes at each of the schools were then also selected at random. The students of selected classrooms were then given a 12-question survey to fill out. The surveys for students between grades 4 and 12 received 7 additional questions on their survey concerning family decision-making patterns. The study had several limitations that devaluated the accuracy of the results. Nevertheless the results show that not only did student interest and participation in the elections increase but so did the adult turnout, which was significantly higher that the turnout in the areas that had not used the program. The second study of interest is the Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. This is an older study, carried out in 1961-62, which attempted to measure the children s early receptiveness to political concepts as evinced through cognitive and affective responses. In order to carry out this study the US was divided into four regions- Northeast, North-Central, South and West. Two cities were chosen from each region and asked to be part of the survey. Within every city the public schools were intentionally chosen from middle class and lower class areas. This study was then also conducted in the form of a questionnaire. Seeing as this was the only essential information we needed from the article the results will not be covered. A number of unmentioned articles containing information on political socialization in educational institutions, form a backbone for this research project. VariablesThis research attempts to demonstrate how political socialization effects voter turnout and an interest and active involvement in politics. Most generally it attempts to examine the existence of a causal relationship between the specialized program, Youth Political Involvement, and political involvement in later years. Moreover, we intend to find a common result in both countries despite their cultural and geographical differences. Although is this the general goal of the research we will narrow our research focus in order to simplify the study. The research will be focused on measuring whether the program, increases voter turnout. In measuring political involvement in a democratic system, political knowledge can be identified by analyzing the depth of cognition of issue-proximities and retrospective evaluations. As such, political knowledge is exactly what it states to be: the knowledge of the political. The political in turn is constituted out of policies, the polity and politics or in other words political results and decisions, various levels and natures of political systems, and political events, activities and decision making processes. It is our intent to measure the awareness of these variables, which constitute political knowledge among youth. Furthermore, our purpose is to inform young citizens in the areas where they are lacking knowledge and to keep them informed about the constant change and decisions being made about their own state as well as a general understanding of what is taking place in political systems around the world.Research Goal and ProblemThe goal of this research is to investigate whether: It is truly the process of political socialization, within educational institutions, which increases voting behavior and/or the citizen s interest and involvement in his/her political system. Hypothesis+ Political socialization, through specialized political education programs in schools, increases voter turnout in a democratic system. + These political education programs increase interest and involvement in the citizen s political system. This interest and involvement is then carries through into adulthood. Methodology and SamplingThis research plan is a behavioral, comparative study of the effects of political socialization, by the means of a specialized program, the Youth Political Involvement program (YPI), on voter turnout in the Netherlands. Various methods will be necessary to carry out both an efficient and accurate study on the effects of political socialization on voter turnout and, consequently, on the political involvement of the youth within their own political system. Voter turnout will be effectively measured during and directly succeeding local and/or regional elections. The more difficult task will be to accurately determine whether the program did in fact political socialize its participating citizens. Therefore, in order to evaluate whether the specialized program has a long-term influence on general political interest and involvement, a longitudinal study must be conducted. The voting program will focus on active and practical politics, rather than the traditional American civics class, which teaches you like rights and the constitution. [But] it does not teach you about politics and parties. The program will solely be implemented in public High schools throughout the different gemeentes of the Netherlands since High school students are old enough to grasp the political concepts, while retaining flexibility and openness towards new ideas. In order to gather a random sample that will be most representative of the general population 24 public High schools will be picked by random sample from across the Netherlands. The research hopes that a random sample will provide a representative group of Dutch High school students. The program provides a curriculum framework in which teachers will be encouraged to hold formal debates on current political events and issues, involve students in role-playing, lead discussions on policies and policy options, and have students research political parties and candidates. Since the schools will be part of one of the numerous Dutch gemeentes, whose local elections and issues they will be examining, a first study will be conducted directly succeeding local elections. Preceding local elections students will be particularly encouraged to discuss election procedures with their families and encourage their guardians to become actively involved in the voting procedure. During the first study a random sample of students will be chosen from each public school to fill out a survey. The first six questions of the survey are designed to measure student involvement in the program (e.g. How often do you participate when political and social issues debated at school.) The second part of the survey will contain about seven questions concerning family decisions making patterns and media use and efficacy questions (e.g. How often did you watch/read things about the election on television.) Furthermore, some general questions will be asked concerning their age, grade level, gender and race. From these questionnaires the research will gather basic results on the attitudes towards the program. Official results of the research question will only be gathered ten years after the start of the YPI. Subsequently studies will take place at every gemeente s election, in which the YIP is being conducted, to examine whether voter turnout increases as students in the program reach the national voting age. Assuming that there is an increase in voter turnout, the research must be able to single out the program as a determinant factor of this occurrence. In order to measure this the voting ballots during local elections will contain a box which citizens will asked to fill in if they have in some way participated in the program. The research considers parents whose political involvement was positively affected by the program as candidates for this sample as well. The results hope to show that voter turnout was positively influenced by the YPI program. Finally, ten years after the program was initiated a survey will be distributed to every household of the involved gemeentes. The first question will ask the individuals of the household whether they were in some way involved with the YPI program. Furthermore, certain general questions about their voting behavior and involvement in political decision-making will be asked. The results of these surveys attempt to examine whether the % of political involvement is higher for families that participated in the program than that of those who did not. ConclusionOur intention is to demonstrate that political socialization, in the form of an educational program, is necessary for an increased political involvement in an increasingly apolitical society such as the Netherlands. In Europe this is the generation that experiences the re-writing of history, a time when renovated political attitudes and issues are increasingly rising to the forefront of the European political and social way of life. In order to ensure the growth and development of this new political arena Europe s youth must be encouraged to take a keen interest in politics, whether that is at local, national or global levels. Political socialization is one of the main secondary factors that influence such interest and behavior and thus should be an issue of major importance within national politics and educational institutions. By instituting the YPI program we hope to provide an opportunity for increased political involvement by the youth that will carry through into the future. It goes without say that the effectiveness of this program must be periodically tested (or else abandoned.) To do so we will carry out two different surveys, one directed at students presently involved in the program, and the other to households that were at some time involved in the program. Also the adapted voting ballots will assist us in concluding whether the program has any positive effects on voter turnout. LiteratureEaston, D. Eight City Study of Child Political Socialization. ICPR Edition, 1971. Flanagan, C. Youth Political Development: an Introduction. Journal of Social Issues, fall 98.Simon, J; Merril, B. Political Socialization in the classroom revisited: The Kids Voting program. : Social Science Journal, 1998, Vol. 35 Issue 1, pg 29, 14p, 3 charts.Millennium Project: American Youths and Attitudes on Politics, Citizenship, Government and Voting. AbstractLow voting turnouts among young adults has become a trend apparent around the globe. This trend is particularly evident in the United States. Various research projects have been carried out in attempt to discover how to involve younger generations in politics. It has been proven that the implementation of specialized programs, during post-elementary through high-school years does have a positive influence on political involvement and interest of young adults. This research attempts to impose specialized programs in both the American and Dutch

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