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The Davenport Institute Co-Leads Major California Civic Health Study to be Released November 10
The Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine's School of Public Policy will release the annual study of California civic participation—the 2010 California Civic Health Index—on November 10, following the key November 2 mid-term elections. The Congressionally-chartered study by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) was collaborated on by the Davenport Institute, California Forward, and the Center for Civic Education. The November 10 briefing will be held at Pepperdine's Drescher Graduate Campus from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
"This year’s study examines two broad categories of civic health," explains Pete Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute. "Social civic engagement includes activities such as volunteering, working with neighbors on local problems, dining with family and group membership. And political civic engagement examines matters such as voting, registering to vote, and discussing politics with others."
"Now, more than ever, states and localities need to integrate these important metrics into their community renewal strategies," adds David B. Smith, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship. "California is at a critical crossroads, and we believe that restoring the civic fabric of the state will be key to tackling the challenges that lie ahead."
The Index, embargoed until November 10, appears at first glance to paint a bleak picture of California because the state ranks low in a number of categories. However, upon closer examination, California compares very favorably in several of those categories with New York, Texas and other ethnically diverse states that have large numbers of non-English speaking residents. Trend lines for California since 2007 also exhibit very positive signs.
Such inverse relationships between civic participation and diversity are not uncommon. In fact, in his 2007 study, "E Pluribus Unum," noted political scientist Robert Putnam noted that issues related to language and culture do indeed impact civic participation.
Scheduled speakers at the conference include Smith and Peterson, plus Bruce McPherson, former California Secretary of State and member of California Forward’s Leadership Council, and Maria Gallo, director of the Center for Civic Education (Calabasas, CA).
Following remarks by Peterson describing this year’s results in California, Smith will offer a national perspective on civic engagement. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion involving Peterson, McPherson and Gallo focusing on possible policy approaches to encourage even greater civic involvement in California. While Californians show room for improvement in most civic participation measures, positive increases in many areas over the last few years demonstrate that the Golden State is on the right path.
The 2010 CHI is the third annual study of Californians’ civic participation. Data was gathered from the Census Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Volunteering and Voting Supplements. This year’s California report follows the September release of the National Civic Health Assessment in Washington, D.C., and is one of 13 state- and four city-level reports. Other states surveyed include Arizona, New York, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
The National Conference on Citizenship develops the Indexes with data analysis provided by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. Members of the national Civic Health Index Working Group include civic scholars Robert Putnam, Bill Galston, Stephen Goldsmith and Peter Levine.