(AP) - Teenagers and young adults are less likely than older adults to value voting or the way government works, and the reason is that the nation is failing to teach the basics for taking part in a democracy.
Though mostly dire, the report found a bit of good news - that young people who have taken a class in civics place more value on engaging in public life.
The report, based on an Internet survey, focused on what it called "DotNets" - people ages 15 to 26. It was produced by the Representative Democracy in America Project, a collaboration of legislative, academic and civics education groups.
The report found that younger people "do not understand the ideals of citizenship, they are disengaged from the political process, they lack the knowledge necessary for effective self-government, and their appreciation and support of American democracy is limited."
The report found, however, that more of the young people took a significantly more active role in democracy - voting, following the news about government, and believing they were personally responsible for making the world better - if they had taken a civics class.
In 39 states, a course in civics or government is required to get a high school diploma.