Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

David Piper, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Kelli Paquette, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Rieg, Ed.D.

Abstract

This study set out to examine if a difference existed among three generations and citizenship and/ or between town vitalities and citizenship. Prior work (Putnam 2000) declared that younger generations lack a civic inclination compared with preceding generations. As examples, two American traditions are experiencing an all-time low in volunteer support. First, volunteer firefighters have experienced a decrease from 300,000 to just 50,000 in Pennsylvania over the last generation (Brittain, 2015). Second, church attendance has declined over the last 40 years (Jansen, 2011).

Additionally, this study examined if generation is influenced by citizenship. In order to determine if a difference or relationship does indeed exist, statistical tests were conducted along with interviews. Citizenship was considered with the five following subsets: personal beliefs, competence for civic action, personally responsible citizenship, participatory citizenship, and justice-oriented citizenship (Westheimer & Kahne 2004). Each of these citizenship attributes were tested for significance with generation (Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial). It was discovered that Millennials are passionate about personal beliefs, Baby Boomers expressed a competence for civic action, and all generations value responsible citizenship. Baby Boomers expressed the importance of participatory citizenship and justice-oriented citizenship. Also it was found that personally responsible citizenship differs by town vitality, as one community had a significant mean score difference from another of the three in this study.

The findings in this study have implications for community leaders. First, community leaders must establish community based programs or maintain existing programs to build a stronger citizen base. Attributes and passions of all citizens must be utilized to better connect communities. Community leaders must develop a citizenship education plan and educate citizens on the value of citizenship. Westheimer and Kahne (2004) and Musil (2003) described the need to incorporate citizenship service learning in the classroom. By doing so, will be prepared for the next generation to experience the benefits of an efficacious community.

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