Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Real Student Representation

Just a (sort of) quick note from Wednesday's MSNBC Democratic Presidential debate. About an hour and a half into the debate Rep. Dennis Kucinich said that he believed 16 year olds should be allowed to vote.

While this idea sounds radical, it should really be considered, especially on a municipal level. In Spring 2006 , the New York City Youth Congress proposed that New York City's voting age should be lowered to 16. Following this, the Future Voters of America Party lobbied the City Council on lowering the voting age and Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduced a bill that would do just that. I failed to find any news on how that's doing.

When one of my friends who was active in Future Voters told me about the issue, I was a little unsure about it. Now I believe that lowering the voting age to 16 could be a very important step for NYC and it would have the greatest impact in education, since around one third of students would be able to vote for the politicians who they felt best represented their concerns in improving their education system.

Students are clamoring for a voice in the decisions made on their education. That desire is one of the reasons for the founding the NYC Student Union and why last year he New York City Youth Congress voted for a resolution calling for the creation of a Student Senate who's opinions would have a weighted effect on DoE decisions.

Generally, simpler is better. It seems to me that the simplest way to give students a voice in their education is to give 16 year olds the right to vote. This will let the people in charge know how students feel, giving them a more clear and informed view of how our schools are run and more insight into the City's educational successes and failures. It also might serve to get more students interested in how City decisions affect them and give them some reason to believe that their schools are really serving the students.

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