According to the Early and Often study prepared by the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Chicago Democracy Week was a big success in getting young people excited about the March 18th Primary in a relatively boring election cycle for IL. One of the major highlights is that 17 & 18 yr old registrants had voted at a higher rate than registrants 19-45 yrs of age. Schools with integrated civic education programs for students were also more likely to vote than their counterparts.
As a Chicago HS civics teacher, I agree that Democracy Week was a success, and have included some pictures from some of the work my students did to entice their class- and school-mates to register, get excited about the IL Gubernatorial Primary during Democracy Week, and Get Out the Vote leading up to March 18th.
Curie students did a number of activities surrounding the elections including determining their own current political identities, critiqing GOP Gubernatorial candidates via the WTTW Youth Forum (debate), organizing a Voter Registration party attended by 50+ students, analyzing the civil rights impact of various Suffrage movements throughout US history, and culminating with an early-voting field trip to the library down the street. We did lots!
Big thanks to Jon Schmidt (fmrly Chicago Public Schools Service Learning, now at Center for Experiential Learning), Jim Allen at the Chicago Board of Elections, Meghan Goldenstein at Mikva Challenge; Carolyn Mehta and Antonio Bacon at Chicago Votes, and Ruth Greenwood at Chicago Lawyers Council for Civil Rights for all the direct-to-classroom support. This is how organizations and educators can model working together with youth to support civic engagement in a meaningful way.