In 2015, only 33% of registered voters in Chicago voted in the election for mayor and alderman. The 7th graders at Bateman are trying to change that in 2019. Bateman is one of 15 schools working with the CPS Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement to have middle school students increase voter turnout. Instead of focusing primarily on the federal government through their constitutional studies, the 7th graders will learn about the role of local government and the impact that individuals can have on the election process. The goal of our action plan is to increase voter turnout in the 33rd Ward. This is also supports the work at Bateman to further Social and Emotional Learning by facilitating student empowerment.
The initial focus will be on the aldermanic race. First, the students explored how the city government affects their own lives, the lives of their family, and the community. Then, students designed and took a survey to identify their top five concerns. Next, they will draft questions about these topics and ask the three candidates for alderman to answer them. The students will work to share information about the candidates' positions on these issues with the community. The students hope that greater voter awareness on these issues will increase voter turnout in our ward. The process will be repeated with the two mayoral candidates if there is a run-off election.
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