20 CPS middle and high school teachers gathered for a professional development session on January 10, 2011, to learn about how to use the upcoming mayoral election as a service-learning opportunity. For the first time in more than twenty years, the City of Chicago will experience a competitive election after Mayor Daley steps down following 21 years in office.
For the learning process, Mikva Challenge has produced a new just-in-time curriculum for the mayoral election. The election features five interactive lessons designed to get students excited about the election process, the candidates, and the issues as the students experience them. If you are interested in accessing the curriculum, go to www.actioncivics.org.
Students are also able to add their own thoughts and ideas and hear from other students at two new websites. At www.dearmayor.com, students around the city have added their voices to the campaign, writing or creating videos about what they think the new mayor should address. And at www.illinoisstudentvote.org, students are submitting one-minute videos to encourage their peers to participate in the election. Students already participating in Mikva Challenge programs will be participating and helping to lead a televised mayoral forum on Monday, January 17, 2011, at the studios to WTTW - Channel 11. The forum will be broadcast at 7:00 p.m. on that same day.
The election presents numerous opportunities for action. Students can get involved in election campaigns through Mikva Challenge (go to www.mikvachallenge.org for more details) or with the guidance of a classroom teacher, participate in get out the vote campaigns with local civic associations, or create local voter education guides (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about these guides). Additionally, thousands of CPS high school students will be serving as polling place election judges on Election Day, February 22, 2011.
It promises to be an exciting election season this year. Encourage your students to get involved. It's what makes a democracy work.