ISBN : 9780190263720
Citizens appear to know very little about politics and government. Hundreds of surveys document millions of citizens answering thousands of political questions incorrectly. Given this state of affairs, it is not surprising that more knowledgeable people often deride the public for its ignorance and encourage them to stay out of politics.
As the eminent political scientist Arthur Lupia shows in this capstone work, there are more constructive responses. As he explains, expert critics of public ignorance fundamentally misunderstand the problem, and as a consequence propose unhelpful solutions to a genuinely serious problem. For instance, idea that simply providing people with more facts will make them more competent voters is erroneous. That is because most experts fail to understand how most people learn, and do not know how to determine what types of information are relevant to voters. Lupia has worked for years with scientists and educators in all arenas to figure out how to increase issue competence among voters in areas like climate change. He draws from these efforts and the latest research on educational efficacy to develop a battery of techniques that effectively convey to people information that they actually care. If we accept the idea that citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, that greater knowledge can improve decision making, and that experts and advocates are often mistaken about how people think and learn, then a prescription for improving political knowledge and civic competence emerges: we need to educate the educators. Lupia's ultimate purpose, therefore, extends beyond politics alone: to help educators of all kinds convey information that is of more value to more people.
1. From Infinite Ignorance to Knowledge that Matters
2. Who Are the Educators and How Can We Help Them?
PART I: THE VALUE OF INFORMATION
3. Three Definitions
4. The Silver Bullet
5. The Logic of Competence
6. Lost in the Woods
7. Attracting Attention
8. Building Source Credibility
9. The Politics of Competence
10. Value Diversity and How to Manage It
11. Complexity and Framing
12. Political Roles: Who Needs to Know?
13. Costs and Benefits
PART II. HOW TO IMPROVE ﾃ｢POLITICAL KNOWLEDGEﾃ｢
14. What We Know
15. Reading the Questions, Understanding the Answers
16. Political Knowledge Scales: Something Doesnﾃ｢t Add Up
17. Assessing Information Assessments
18. All in Good Measure
19. The Silver Lining