By Janet Hernandez, Senior Civic Engagement Project Manager and David Castillo, Digital Content Manager
With nearly one million Latino citizen youth turning 18 every year, the Latino voting population continues to grow and become active in our democracy, but there is more work to do. In the last election millennials had the lowest turnout rate of all age groups. To close this gap, NCLR launched the High School Democracy Project at East Austin College Prep last month to increase youth voter participation by engaging high school students and teachers across the country.
Melissa Garcia, a high school senior at NCLR California Affiliate Academia Avance, became a registered voter on April 28, her 18th birthday and day of the curriculum launch; she was preregistered in the state of California. “As a newly registered voter, I’m really excited to vote for the first time because I want to know how it feels to speak my mind with my vote; I hope my vote makes a difference in our community.”
By John De La Cruz, Principal, George I. Sanchez Charter School (This was first posted to the Latino School Leaders Blog, an NCLR Project)
I don’t know if there has ever been a time when public schools only had to concern themselves with teaching and learning academic content but I can say with certainty that now is definitely not that time. At my inner city charter school everyday brings new challenges that have nothing to do with academic content.
If you were a principal at my school, a typical day on for you might look something like this: You start the morning dealing with some high school students who were brought in reeking of the marijuana they smoked on their way to school that morning. Shortly thereafter you deal with some middle-school students who were bullying each other because of something that was posted to Facebook. Just as that is resolved, you are made aware that the young lady from yesterday’s bullying incident is having a crisis and has indicated to staff that she is contemplating suicide. While addressing this issue, it is brought to your attention that a pregnant girl in 10th grade is possibly experiencing contractions and needs medical attention. Efforts to reach any of the parents or family members of any the students involved in these incidents have not been met with success. Phone numbers that were provided to the school are no longer active or are answered by the wrong party. Therefore, the responsibility of what to do with those students falls squarely on your shoulders.