School and local elections this Tuesday!

Many people believe that young people simply do not care about politics - or if they do, they only do so during presidential campaigns. But every election is important, including elections for governor, state legislature, city office... and school boards. And other than K-12 students and teachers, I don’t know of any group that has more at stake in these school elections than people our age.

This Tuesday, many communities will be holding elections for School Boards, while others will be voting on tax issues (i.e. millage requests) and the like. Click here to find out if there’s an election going on where you live.

If there’s an election where you live, but you’re not sure if you will vote, here are a couple of reasons why you should.

1. K-12 schools do matter to us. If you're reading this, you are probably a college student, and you probably don't care what goes on in your communities' K-12 schools (unless you want to be a teacher). Here's why you should. Companies generally choose to create jobs in areas where potential employees are well-trained to work for them. This means that in order for Michigan to emerge from the economic doldrums brought on by the decline in our auto industry, workers need to be well-trained and well-educated. It’s up to our schools to educate young people and to equip them with the skills they need in the 21st century world. Gov. Jennifer Granholm understood this, and was thus able to push a stronger high school curriculum into law last year.

School board members - including those who will be elected Tuesday - have the responsibility of making the schools in their communities educate children as best they can. The better the schools in your communities are, the smarter their students will be, the better prepared they will be for the workforce and the more attractive our communities will be to businesses.

2. Your vote has a big impact (relatively speaking). About 60 million people vote for the American Idol in a typical week. 3.8 million people voted in Michigan’s gubernatorial race six months ago. By contrast, no more than a few thousand people vote in School Board elections in many places. This means your vote will have a much greater impact on who wins.

3. Today’s School Board members = Tomorrow’s political leaders. A number of School Board members go on to serve as city council members, mayors, and state legislators. Former Grand Rapids Public School Board member Robert Dean now serves in the Michigan House, having won a hotly contested race last fall. The 2006 Democratic nominee for Congress in the Grand Rapids area, Jim Rinck, currently sits on the GRPS Board. Those are just a couple of examples. So if you see a candidate whom you know is a conservative... well, you know who not to vote for.

Polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM on Tuesday. If you can, educate yourself (no pun intended) about the candidates running in your area... then be sure to vote!

1 comment:

Chad Livengood said...

Nice blog. To read more about education issues in Michigan and specifically Jackson, Mich., see this blog: http://blog.mlive.com/taking_notes/