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Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, focuses on young people in the United States, especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged in political life. CIRCLE's scholarly research informs policy and practice for healthier youth development and a better democracy.

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Civic Ed
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"Raising all students well above proficiency will require significantly more time in the classroom, better prepared teachers and improved curricula," writes Solomont.

Our democracy demands an investment in civic education

Solomont is retiring this spring after seven years as dean of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. He was ambassador to Spain and Andorra during the Obama administration.

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Andy Manis/Getty Images

Record voter turnout included a doubling in the number of mail-in ballots, including this stack being counted in a school gym in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Plenty of warnings in the turnout numbers, even though voting surged

To quote the great 1970s power ballad: Two out of three ain't bad.

That Meat Loaf gold record provides a good summation for the record-breaking turnout in the presidential election: It looks like almost exactly two out of every three eligible Americans voted.

That's an estimated 159.4 million adult citizens, 20.5 million more than the previous high four years ago. And it's the strongest turnout rate since 1900 — when, by the way, women still did not have the franchise and most Black citizens and other people of color were effectively blocked from the ballot box.

Why the "ain't bad" summary, then? Because the total nonetheless means nearly 80 million people who had the right to vote decided not to. Because this year does not change how the United States still ranks near the bottom of the world's developed democracies when it comes to election participation. And because while the youth vote increased significantly, half of the population younger than 30 still did not go to the polls for a presidential election highly consequential to their future.

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