Charles Dupre, superintendent of Fort Bend Independent School District in Texas, accepted the National Student/Parent Mock Election award on behalf of his school district at the AASA national conference’s 1st General Session on Thursday (March 2).
The superintendent traveled to New Orleans to receive the AASA co-sponsored “For Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education” award, given every four years to recognize a model citizenship education initiative in K-12 education. Dupre represented Peter Yackus, an elementary and social studies coordinator in Fort Bend.
(See a short video of Dupre following acceptance of the award.)
Fort Bend’s comprehensive civic education project involved students in elementary and secondary schools. They conducted research on candidates, voted online and analyzed their results. (Learn more about Fort Bend’s program at www.fortbendisd.com/Page/44682.) During every U.S. presidential election year, the National Student/ Parent Mock Election, the nation’s largest voter education program, offers an opportunity for students to actively participate in civic engagement. The program is directed by its longtime president Gloria Kirshner,
Since 1980, students in all 50 states, both at the K-12 and collegiate levels, vote for the actual presidential candidates who are running for office through paper or electronic balloting. Their decisions are informed by educational activities, including watching video messages directly from the candidates.
In past election years, this program reached up to 6 million students, as well as their parents and teachers. In 2016, the mock election participation by students fell by about half its normal turnout, modeling the actual voter turnout last November.
This represents an important challenge and objective for the program’s organizers in 2020 — to have more citizens critically engage in the democratic processes. Today’s students are tomorrow’s voting, contributing citizens.
The Institute for Democracy in Puerto Rico joined the Fort Bend Independent School District as the 2017 award recipients. Ramón Barquín III, the mock election coordinator from San Juan, Puerto Rico, was unable to attend the AASA conference.