Prior to the official 2016 presidential election, a mock election for elementary, middle, and high school students across America was held.
Newsela, a startup company founded in 2013, which operates in the field of education technology organized this mock election for school-aged children in over 16,000 K-12 institutions in all 50 U.S. states. According to the Newsela website, almost 400,000 students participated in the Newsela’s Student Vote 2016.
Holding mock elections for children in schools (most of which are too young to vote) is a very good idea. It engages elementary, middle, and high school children in a process that the traditional public education system does a poor job of thoroughly teaching them about.
The mock election for school-aged children organized by Newsela this year had Hillary Clinton as the clear winner over Donald Trump (57 percent to 32 percent respectively). Chicago, Illinois, Portland, Oregon, and San Jose, California were the top three cities with the highest amount of student votes, according the Newsela’s website.
“Clinton won most swing states, but Trump maintained his hold on Ohio. Among our student voters, Clinton took some Republican strongholds such as Texas, Georgia, and even South Carolina. And while younger students overwhelmingly chose Clinton, it was a much closer race for high school students,” the website also read.
However, Education Week Magazine looked deeper into the data derived from Newsela’s Student Vote 2016 by pointing out the racially-oriented elements of the final results.
“So about that racial divide: Clinton did extremely well in schools in which at least 70 percent of the students were either black or Hispanic, while Trump got the win in schools that were at least 70 percent white,” wrote Andrew Ujifusa, an Education Week reporter.
What does this sharp racial divide among children who voted in this mock election tell us about the civic desires of the future generation? How do parents and teachers explain today’s social climate to their children? It’s important for adults to help children understand this nation’s politically complicated environment in a responsible way.