Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9473-7465

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Amanda J. Cleveland Teye

Liliokanaio Peaslee

Chris R. Colocousis

Abstract

In the age of partisan divide in America, education plays a pivotal role in overcoming social and political barriers––bridging these divides by creating a shared understanding of core values and beliefs that promote the tolerance and acceptance of the diversity of others and the recognition of the inequities that exist in society. Although there are number of factors that have contributed to our nation’s division, this paper specifically investigates how public education might play a role in mitigating social and political tension, and the political factors that might facilitate or hinder the implementation of valuable curriculum goals. The purpose of this paper is to examine state political factors to determine if there are associations between the political division or homogeneity of a state––or the dominant political party in a state––and its statutes and laws pertaining to social studies curriculum that promote civic engagement, civil discourse, and diverse cultural values (multiculturalism and social inequality). Data were gathered from blank sources and collated in a single database, which allowed for nonparametric correlation analyses to determine association. A binomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to ascertain the effects of political culture, population size, and median household income on statistically significant variables. Despite most states having majority-Democratic populations in terms of voter registration, there are Republican majorities in most state legislatures. All states mention civic engagement in their statutes related to social studies curriculum, but only nine mention ideas regarding social inequality. Majority-Democratic states appeared to be associated with the promotion of diverse cultural values in social studies curriculum. Majority-Democratic state legislatures were associated with a greater likelihood of promoting social inequality. State legislatures that were more divided appeared to have an association with a greater likelihood of promoting civil discourse. Increasing population sizes were associated with an increased likelihood of promoting civil discourse curriculum goals as well. Although the factors that contribute to our nation’s partisanship and lack of understanding extend beyond what we learn in the classrooms, examining certain political and social factors of a state might give us some insight into how party values and political factors might influence curriculum goals.

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