North Routt students host their own election to learn about government
Steamboat Springs — This election season, fifth- and sixth-graders at North Routt Community Charter School held their own election as part of a three-month government expedition about how the United States government works and what it means to be a United States citizen.
“I like learning about the government, because I don’t know that much about it,” sixth-grader Eli Moon said. “I have learned how broad the span of types of government is.”
Students began their expedition at the beginning of the school year by researching the fundamentals of U.S. history and different forms of government. After exploring the idea of American government, students designed their own political parties, taking stances on school-wide issues such as bullying, cellphone use and homework to define their political platforms.
“I liked that it was parallel to the real presidential election,” 11-year-old candidate Olive Subr said.
Two parties were created, with the interests of students evenly divided between groups to avoid turning the election into a popularity contest among students. The political parties selected leaders for their group, then began to campaign for their platform and prepare for a mock debate.
“If I get elected, I hope to enforce my platform and be someone who kids can come to for help and look up to,” said candidate Josie Meyring, 10.
All students in the school registered for one of two parties after being informed of each platform and will soon vote in “primaries” for the presidential candidate. Students will then elect their community president, with the final election taking place before Thanksgiving break.
The winning party will have the opportunity to enforce its platform throughout the school for several weeks following the election.
“Because the platforms will be enacted, the kids have taken this very seriously,” said North Routt educator Mitch Globe.
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