Educating the Next Generation of voters

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics
Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll

Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll

I never paid much attention to it before, but with four children in school it’s hard to miss: Presidential elections are when we train the next generation to vote.  My children are all about the election.  They’re bringing home worksheets on the parties, discussing the candidates with their classmates and holding mock elections.  They’re asking lots of questions and they are looking to me for answers at the dinner table.  They watch all those advertisements on TV in the evenings.  “Is that true?”  “Why would he say something like that?”  I’ve debated tax policy with my high schooler and he’s debated it with his friends.  When I ordered my Obama yard sign, they anxiously waited for it to come in.  “Is it here yet?”  “The election is coming!”  When it arrived, everyone went to plant it in the yard.  My kindergartener proudly placed an Obama magnet on my wife’s car.  (No bumper stickers allowed there.)  Last night, the yard sign was stolen from my quiet suburban yard after being there less than a week while my neighbors’ McCain signs sat unmolested.  How do I explain that?  Time to get out the poster boards and crayons because my children want to be involved in this election and our yard is going to have a sign!



  1. FreeDuck  •  Oct 29, 2008 @6:55 am

    This is so true. My kids are so excited about this election and ask so many questions. After the long primary, my 8 year old knows more about delegates and super delegates than I ever did. I always take them with me to vote and they get to push the buttons. Here’s to the next generation of involved and informed citizens.

  2. nimh  •  Oct 29, 2008 @12:03 pm

    “and they get to push the buttons.”

    Ooooh, voter fraud!

    Do you guys have, like, mock elections in schools to go with the national elections? In Holland it’s a tradition; there’s an organisation holding a nationwide parallel election among high school students. Individual schools can join the initiative or not, a great many do. (In fact, I got an email from an old acquaintance the other day saying she was involved in the organisation now!)

    There’s no campaign or anything, but it’s a great way to invest kids already some in the democratic process. Dunno if they have it here in Hungary – probably not, considering the civil-war type bitter polarisation between the two major parties here. It might get ugly.

    I was in a bit of a weird high school … I remember the mock-elections from 1982, the year before I actually went to school there but when my big sis was already there. The right-wing liberals (kinda what you’d call small-l libertarians) won, narrowly followed by the Pacifist Socialist Party. Mind, those parties scored respectively 24% and, well, 2% in the real, national elections. The national leading parties, the Christian-Democrats and Labour, came in an ignominable third and fourth or fifth or something. It was a Montessori school you see – so you had this weird mix of rich hockey kids and alternative, postpunk-type kids. ;-)

  3. FBR  •  Oct 29, 2008 @6:33 pm

    When I was young, there were no free elections.
    But nimh’s story reminds me of the mock elections in my son’s High School in 2000. The left-wing populist and the social-democrat went neck to neck, third place was the conservative Fox, and last was the PRI candidate who ended up in 2nd place in the real election… a former student of that High School.

  4. FreeDuck  •  Oct 31, 2008 @6:01 am

    Hah, voter fraud! Yeah, THREE of us voted. At the same time!

    We do have mock elections here, which can be good depending on the effort made to get the kids informed even a little bit. I remember voting for Ronald Reagan in 1980 in 1st grade because I thought he was better looking than Jimmy Carter. I imagine/hope that it is much different in upper grades. If I had to guess I’d say that my kids’ school would go overwhelmingly for Obama. I mean, last year at a black history month celebration, the kids were asked to name famous black heroes. One girl stood up and said “Barack Obama because he’s the first American black president”. A little premature maybe, but you had to love the excitement.