Identifying the Effects of Schools and Teachers on Civic Engagement
Kirsten Slungaard Mumma

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Boston University

Primary Discipline

Despite record turnout, only half of all Americans aged 18-29 voted in the 2020 presidential election. Gaps in voter turnout are consequential for election outcomes, reflect (and may exacerbate) existing social inequalities, and diminish the ability of our democracy to fully represent the interests of its people. Although public schools have been called the ?guardians of democracy,? it is not well understood whether and how K-12 schools and teachers contribute to civic engagement. The goal of this study is to identify the effects of K-12 high schools and teachers on adult voting behavior and to generate evidence on the mechanisms behind these effects. I will do this by pairing contemporary approaches to value-added modelling with unique data linking K-12, birth, and voting records for students in Indiana to estimate ?civic value-added measures? that control for parental voting. I will then relate these civic value-added measures to value-added estimates for test- and non-test outcomes, peer group composition, and school-level measures of civic education opportunities to identify potential mechanisms for these effects. Specifically, this study will address the following three research questions: 1. How do high schools affect the civic engagement of their students? 2. How do social studies teachers affect the civic engagement of their students? 3. How do effects on civic engagement relate to effects on test and non-test outcomes, peer group composition, and other measures of civics-related coursework and extracurricular opportunities?
About Kirsten Slungaard Mumma
Kirsten Slungaard Mumma is a postdoctoral fellow at the Wheelock Educational Policy Center at Boston University?s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. In fall 2023, Kirsten will begin as an Assistant Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kirsten?s research is in the economics of education. She studies how education programs and policies affect the economic, social, and political outcomes of children and adults. Her interests include immigrants and English learners, politics/political engagement and education, and K-12 school choice. Her work has been published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and has been featured by media outlets including the Washington Post, Education Week, Brookings Brown Center, and Chalkbeat. Before graduate school, Kirsten worked for Rocketship Education, a charter management organization based out of California, and for the Chicago Public Schools. She holds an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management and a PhD in Education Policy and Program Evaluation from Harvard University.

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