Putting the Democracy in Democracy Prep

As you may have seen on social media, Democracy Prep is the focus of a recent study by Mathematica Policy Research. We were interested to see how Democracy Prep could impact voter registration and voting in our scholars. We’ve tested our motto – our scholars most certainly work hard, they are going to and graduating from college, and now we have further research that demonstrates one more way our scholars change the world.

While the results are exciting to read, they are very mathematical. I wanted to share my takeaways from the policy paper in a more colloquial format, with apologies to our researchers. The study measured the effect of enrolling in a Democracy Prep school on the rates of voter registration and voting among our scholars after they become adults. The study found that Democracy Prep significantly impacts students’ democratic participation in adulthood. In short hand, in the 2016 election, our scholars voted 24 percentage points more often than students who did not attend a DP school.

While Democracy Prep started with voter registration drives and ‘Get Out The Vote’ efforts, our schools have evolved to include a more global definition of citizenship – Days of Service, canned food drives, coat drives, volunteering at soup kitchens – and of course our capstone project, Change the World. While we have been busy building citizens, we have schools full of soon-to-be voters.

Many ask us how this happened. A wise man told me that time is love. We LOVE civics, and so we give it much time in our schools, across disciplines. Our scholars discuss politics in U.S. History, dance and literature. Citizenship and scholarship are in our mission, and we all strive to live that mission and build a more perfect union.

As more and more of our scholars turn 18 and are able to vote, I know none of them will take active participation in our democracy for granted. Our scholars will understand the value of entering the ballot box. They will know of all who fought to ensure they have that right, and they will have the knowledge of how to use it.

As always, I cannot wait to see the world they make manifest.

To read the report from Mathematica, please click here.

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