'VOTES' Students Call U.S. Economy Top Issue in 2012 Presidential Race - C Tax Breaks Most Popular Way to Spur Job Creation -- In First Blast Polls, Secondary School Students From Across the Country Weigh in on Nation's Priorities, Possible Policy Fixes
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Among the peer review posts, the most popular response came from an anonymous high school student: "I think allowing businesses more freedom would be the next best thing. The businesses are the backbone of the economy and can help fix it." A Northfield Mount Hermon student offered this: "The economy should be stimulated from the bottom up by giving money to the people in demand of buying goods." And a high school student in Biloxi, Miss.: "We should quit spending so much money on foreign investments and spend more money on trying to fix our problems at home."
"As our first two VOTES Project Blast poll questions affirm, today's secondary school students are thoroughly engaged in the big themes of Campaign 2012 - and that, by itself, ought to give all of us great cause for optimism about the nation's future," said Jim Shea, NMH history teacher and VOTES co-founder. "As telling as the raw numbers are, however, the peer review feedback is even more compelling - it shows a real understanding of the issues, not just basic awareness."
"We teach that democracy is a process, a journey as much as a destination - and already, this year's VOTES Project Blast polls are underscoring this basic truth," said Robert Romano, founder and CEO, BookheadEd Learning. "The Blasts are also demonstrating how relevant and immediate education technology can be, fostering timely connections and facilitating conversations that matter."
NMH created VOTES 1988 and has run the program for all six presidential elections since then. In 2008, 60,000 students from every state in the nation cast ballots of their own and sent them to Northfield Mount Hermon a week before Election Day. For the 2012 race, the polls will wrap up just prior to Election Day, when students will select one of the two candidates.
In addition to counting the popular vote, NMH's mock election simulates the Electoral College process. According to NMH, teen voters have correctly predicted the results of the national presidential election in every race since 1988, with the exception of the 2004 contest. Turnout in participating schools approaches 80 percent - twice the average turnout in national elections. The project teaches students about the democratic process, tests their political savvy, and reveals the age group's political leanings through an issues poll. (continued...)