Ninth and 11th Grade Troy High School students in Marc Mostransky’s English classes aren’t waiting until they are old enough to vote to think seriously about the issues facing out country. Issues like the cost of college, immigration, the environment, violence, the economy and many other issues affect their families and their lives today.
Their letters to the next president are featured on Letters2president.org (L2P 2.0) along with those of hundreds of other students across the country. The online writing and publishing venture, sponsored by the National Writing Project (NWP) and KQED, capitalizes on young people’s interest in their communities and futures, especially during this fall election season.
Through L2P 2.0, students use an open, online publishing platform where any educator or youth mentor can give their students a safe place to voice their opinions about key election issues that they believe the next president—whomever he or she may be—needs to address.
Mostransky said this project and others, such as the mock election held last week, gives students a voice and is directly aligned to the Common Core Curriculum.
“Projects like these allow students to be critical thinkers, researchers, amazing writers, and nearly experts on the issue they selected,” said Mostransky, who also runs an after school Spoken Word Poetry Program at Troy High School. “What could be more timely than writing to the candidates, or more genuine than participating in the democratic process?”
The project has also inspired students to read and think about the issues and opinions of teens in other parts of the country. Going forward, students will begin a debate unit on several of their selected topics.
Troy High School P-TECH student Grace Collins said she finds projects like this that extend outside of the classroom to be engaging.
“To me, this project allows me to share my voice. To possibly share my feelings with the future president or someone who works with the future president. It’s important because it makes me feel that I’m being heard. I’m not just sitting here in a classroom saying what I have to say, but it is being heard beyond the classroom.”
Letters2president.org will stay open for student submissions through November 8, and all published letters are available to the public now through the new president’s first 100 days in office in early 2017.