Are Colleges and High Schools Turning Out 'Engaged Citizens?'

Aug 17, 2018

What does it take to become an engaged citizen?  Opinions are divided along party lines.

According to a new poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, 74 percent of Democrats say Virginia colleges and universities are doing a good job. But only 45 percent of Republicans agree.

Farrah Stone Graham is survey director at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. “Republicans generally are less likely to feel that public colleges and universities are, you know, that they are somewhat liberal.”

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Republicans are also less likely to think colleges and universities are doing a good job helping students develop communications skills or preparing students for the workforce needs of the future.

But partisan differences aren’t the only jarring finding in this poll. “It was kind of stark to see that overall, people’s opinion of how public high schools are doing was even lower,” Graham said.

Only 45 percent of respondents — that’s Democrats and Republicans and independents — believe Virginia’s high schools do a good job preparing students to be engaged citizens.

Click here for more detailed poll results

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.