Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class to Reach Thousands of High Schools with Civics Education for 2nd Annual Democracy Day
On Friday, March 23, Rock the Vote will hold its second annual Democracy Day, bringing its Democracy Class to students nationwide and helping them to register to vote for the 2012 elections. Schools across the country are teaching Democracy Class starting today through the end of the spring semester in recognition of the 41st anniversary of the 26th Amendment, which gave 18 year-olds the right to vote. At a time when states are passing some of the most sweeping voting restrictions young voters have faced in decades, Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class helps ensure that young people learn their history, register to vote and have a voice in their future as soon as they are eligible.
The national launch of the second annual Democracy Day will take place at 10AM ET at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele, Former Governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia based recording artist Nikki Jean will join Heather Smith, Rock the Vote President, David Eisner, National Constitution Center President and CEO, Power 99 FM and over 200 high school seniors from five area schools to participate in Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class and pep rally. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will release a video message of support during the pep rally.
Democracy Class is a one-period lesson plan that includes a mock election, classroom discussion, and a new video featuring Grammy award winning artist John Legend, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, Roc Nation recording artist Bridget Kelly and Glee’s Darren Criss about the importance of civic engagement in 2012. The video uses sharp and hard-hitting animation rooted in a youth pop cultural aesthetic to engage young people in a discussion about America’s voting history and inspire them to register to vote. The class is a nationally accredited curriculum that teachers can sign up for online for free.
Democracy Class was developed to fill a gap left by over 30 years of cuts to civic education in public schools, at a time when almost 11,500 young people turn 18 every day. Rock the Vote’s outreach has included schools in underserved communities, where students are less likely to learn about how they can make their voices heard and participate in the system. While Census data shows that only 49.2%of Millennials (ages 18-29) say they are registered to vote, compared to 69.5% of the rest of the electorate, they are highly likely to vote once registered. In 2012, Millennials will make up nearly one quarter of the entire electorate; Rock the Vote’s 2012 election program aims to register 1.5 million individuals to vote and ensure that they have the information they need to cast a ballot on November 6, 2012.
The following Secretaries of State and Mayors have pledged their support of Democracy Class and the need for innovative civic education programs within our nation’s school systems that create opportunities for young Americans to learn about the elections process, register to vote and ultimately be prepared to participate in our country’s democracy by casting their first ballot.
• Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, California
• Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, Connecticut
• Matt Schultz, Secretary of State, Iowa
• Alison Lundergan Grimes, Secretary of State, Kentucky
• Ross Miller, Secretary of State, Nevada
• Kate Brown, Secretary of State, Oregon
• Carol Aichele, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania
• Jason Gant, Secretary of State, South Dakota
• Sam Reed, Secretary of State, Washington
• Douglas La Follette, Secretary of State, Wisconsin
• Sara Presler, Mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona
• Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, Arizona
• Anthony Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina
Additionally, the National Education Association, National Council of Social Studies, the American Federation of Teachers, Generation Citizen, Mikva Challenge and YouthBuild have all signed on as Democracy Class partners. Youth Policy Institute, the largest after school program in the country, is bringing Democracy Class to all of its after school programs on March 23rd, and David Banner will speak at the YPI Los Angeles event on Democracy Day. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has partnered with Rock the Vote to implement the lesson plan in schools throughout the state.
At St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, AZ, Dr. Peterson Zah, the last Chairman and first President of the Navajo Nation, will address and engage 50 students regarding the history of voting and the responsibilities they have in making their voices heard and their votes counted in 2012.
CafePress is a dedicated sponsor of the program by supporting the production and distribution of the toolkits being sent to educators nationwide. And Spotify, the awardwinning digital music service that gives you free on-demand access to millions of songs, provides participating students with the opportunity to “rock out” for free with their very own Spotify account.
About Rock the Vote | www.rockthevote.org
Rock the Vote engages young people in our democracy and builds their political power by registering, educating and turning them out to vote, by forcing the candidates to campaign to them, and by making politicians pay attention to youth and the issues they care about once in office. For more than 20 years, we have used music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing to engage and mobilize young people to participate in every election. By providing them with the information and tools they need, since 1990 Rock the Vote has registered more than 5 million young people, including more than 2.25 million in the historic 2008 election and 300,000 in 2010’s midterm elections. In 2012 and beyond, Rock the Vote will be at the forefront of reinvigorating democracy and redefining citizenship for a generation, building relationships and activating a growing, diverse base of young Americans (www.rockthevote.org)
About Democracy Class
Democracy class is a one-period lesson plan that uses new media, popular culture, and classroom discussion to register students to vote and educate them about the power of their vote and participation in the political process. As part of these efforts we celebrate the 2nd annual Democracy Day on March 23, 2012 asking educators across the country to bring Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class to their students (more at www.democracyday.com).