Education Matters: Local students on the big decisions in Election 2020

Education

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Proposition 18 would give 17-year-olds turning 18 before the primary election the right to vote in that election.

The proposal comes as figures show young people are voting in record numbers in this election.

Sanger High School teacher Lenya Jordan says, in so many ways, this is not a typical year. For one she wasn’t expecting to be teaching her AP Government class online.

“Trying to bring current events into the classroom and getting them to understand not only how our government works but in an election year and a pandemic has been a very new concept for me to teach,” said Jordan.

But these twin events, a presidential election, and a worldwide pandemic have added a new dimension for students learning about our government and political systems.

“I think the politics has tuned some of them out and that scares me. I have other kids who can’t wait to get into class and talk about what they heard on the news.”

Five students in Mrs. Jordan’s class agreed to talk to us, share their views about a year that’s coming to life in the classroom.

“Everything you’re learning – seeing it be applied so it makes learning much easier for you when you’re seeing it during an election year,” said Oscar Mercado.

“Our nation I believe is very divided between two parties and you can’t really declare yourself a moderate nowadays,” said William Heng.

“It’s really disheartening seeing politicians go after each other like this,” said Francine Velasco.

They are paying attention, not just to national issues but local.

“I definitely think it’s good to have all these propositions especially local ones that focus on benefiting Sanger, benefiting Fresno County,” said Ben Awad.

On Proposition 18, which would give 17-year-olds turning 18 in an election year the right to vote, the students were not in support.

“I still believe that we should not be able to vote, I believe as a 17-year-old, I believe we are still very young and very new to the political scene,” said William.

“It’s also easy to sway younger people in their views because they are influenced by their peers, their parents, their teacher,” said Francine.

When it comes to the pandemic, all were in agreement, mainly because it’s impacting them all.

“I hate online school…I love that feeling of interacting with people, interacting with teachers, friends,” said Benjamin.

in this group, there is no problem wearing a mask and no debate about if the pandemic is real. Francine Velasco’s mother and brother are healthcare workers.

“There’s been times when I haven’t seen my Mom for weeks, my brother months, and it’s really disheartening seeing people not take it seriously,” said Francine.

The 17-year-olds have advice to give the grown-ups who can vote:

“No matter what camp you’re in, we’re all Americans and we all have a say and we all have a vote that counts and matters in determining who’s going to be leading us,” said Oscar.

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