ASTI Students Hold Mock Election
As the official election approaches, many schools across Alameda, including ASTI (Alameda Science and Technology Institute) are holding mock elections to familiarize students with the voting process. Last Wednesday Oct. 26, ASTI held a mock election in which students voted for their desired presidential candidate, California propositions, and had the opportunity to dress as their favorite candidate.
According to ASTI counselor and Advisory (Leadership) instructor, Kristen Jurkovich, the mock election is a cross-curricular activity that helps students understand how the election is related to different subject areas. It was implemented as a component of Spirit Week, a school-wide event in which students can earn points for their corresponding grade levels by participating in various activities. To emulate the setting and ambiance of a voting poll, advisory students established voting booths and distributed sample ballots to students prior to the voting process. All students participated in the mock election.
Several of the students involved said this was a unique learning experience. As an upcoming voter, ASTI senior, Jacob Yalung said the mock election has augmented his political awareness and ability to think critically about issues surrounding his community. Furthermore, he stated that it was excellent preparation for the official election since it encouraged him to research the candidates and propositions thoroughly before submitting his mock vote.
Similarly, ASTI freshman, Molly Clem said the mock election informs her about different political perspectives/issues and believes it helps students become more informed citizens. Clem also believes that mock elections in high schools are essential towards raising the country’s political participation.
ASTI’s faculty was greatly involved, as well. Social Studies teacher, Brian Rodriguez informed me that, “one of the most important lessons I wish to impart to students is that democracy is not passive, but instead requires informed voters.” Students in his Modern World History, US History, and Economics classes analyzed the presidential debates and held in-class debates based on their analysis of issues, like foreign policy. Rodriguez said students were actively engaged in the discussions and unlike today’s media coverage of politics, the class also analyzed the viewpoints of Green Party candidate, Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.
In addition to Social Studies, every ASTI teacher participated in a unique way: posters for the candidates were written in Spanish, students in English class analyzed speeches and propositions, the Science faculty discussed global warming and the importance of recycling, and sampling was discussed in Math classes.
“We know that young people are often uninformed about political issues, and sometimes wonder why they should get involved.” Rodriguez said. “These types of lessons teach the necessity of getting involved and becoming informed citizens.”