2008 BYU L. Rev. 487 (2008)
The Civic Side of School Choice: An Empirical Analysis of Civic Education in Public and Private Schools

handle is hein.journals/byulr2008 and id is 503 raw text is: The Civic Side of School Choice: An Empirical
Analysis of Civic Education in Public and Private
Schools
David E. Campbell*
I. INTRODUCTION
Social scientists have long had an interest in the civic education
of adolescents, although research on the subject has waxed and
waned over the last three or four decades.' After a flurry of research
in the 1960s and early 1970s, studies of civic education slowed to a
trickle, but have picked up again in recent years.2 In the words of
one recent review article, [a]fter decades of neglect, civic education
is back on the agenda of political science in the United States.'
These decades of neglect, however, have meant that the field [of
civic education] as a whole provides disappointing theoretical and
empirical bases for undertaking the educational reforms that might
strengthen the role of schools in the making of citizens.4 At a time
when education reform tops policy agendas, it is unfortunate that
there is relatively little empirical evidence regarding possible civic
consequences of various reform proposals. The relative lack of
research on the subject of civic education is particularly lamentable as
a national conversation-often, a heated argument-takes place over
* Professor of Law and Director, Willamette University Center for the Study of
Religion, Law & Democracy.
1. For a more technical version of this analysis, see David E. Campbell, Making
Democratic Education Work, in CHARTERS, VOUCHERS, AND PUBLIC EDUCATION 241, 241
(Paul E. Peterson & David E. Campbell eds., 2001); for a more succinct version, written for a
general audience, see David E. Campbell, Bowling Together: Private Schools, Serving Public
Ends, 3 EDUC. NEXT 55 (2001).
2. See RICHARD G. NIEMI & JANE JUNN, CIvIC EDUCATION: WHAT MAKES
STUDENTS LEARN 204 (Yale Univ. Press. 1998); Diane Owen, Service Learning and Political
Socialization, 33 POL. SCI. & POL. 639, 639-40 (2000).
3. William A. Galston, Political Knowledge, Political Engagement, and Civic Education,
4 ANN. REV. POL. SCI. 217, 217 (2001).
4. Pamela Johnston Conover & Donald D. Searing, A Political Socialization
Perspective, in REDISCOVERING THE DEMOCRATIC PURPOSES OF EDUCATION 91, 91 (L. M.
McDonnell, P. M. Timpane & R. Benjamin eds., 2000).

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