ASU Scholarship Showcase
This growing collection consists of scholarly works authored by ASU-affiliated faculty, staff, and community members, and it contains many open access articles. ASU-affiliated authors are encouraged to Share Your Work in KEEP.
- Resource Type: Text
Does school participatory budgeting (SPB) increase students’ political efficacy? SPB, which is implemented in thousands of schools around the world, is a democratic process of deliberation and decision-making in which students determine how to spend a portion of the school’s budget. We examined the impact of SPB on political efficacy in one middle school in Arizona. Our participants’ (n = 28) responses on survey items designed to measure self-perceived growth in political efficacy indicated a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 1.46), suggesting that SPB is an effective approach to civic pedagogy, with promising prospects for developing students’ political efficacy.
Public participation in local decision-making processes has numerous purported benefits. Yet, realizing these benefits requires a citizenry that is able and willing to participate in meaningful ways. High schools are ideal venues for civic education but rarely teach local collective action, citizen engagement, and self-governance, focusing instead on personal responsibility, knowledge of political institutions, and information on electoral processes. This article reports on a citizenship education project in a high school in Phoenix, Arizona. The program engaged students from all grade levels in a participatory budgeting (PB) process – to our knowledge, the first School PB in the U.S. The study asked to what extent student engagement in PB contributed to democratic learning necessary to actively engage in public debates and decision-making processes. The findings suggest that deliberative processes that engage students in decision-making can develop civic competencies, and among available strategies, PB is particularly effective. The study also found that the impact of informal democratic learning through PB increases significantly when it is paired with formal learning in the classroom.