“The right to vote is the right upon which all of our rights are leveraged – and without which none can be protected.” Benjamin Todd Jealous, former President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), spoke these words during the NAACP annual convention. Yet, as Americans, we do not tend to follow his advice. Although, we have seen some improvement in voting turnout for national elections, quite the opposite has taken place in state elections in New Jersey.
November’s general election is one of the year’s greatest teachable moments. With candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who disagree – loudly – on practically every issue, we would be kidding ourselves if we thought children were not paying attention and discussing the election amongst themselves. But how do we (as teachers and parents) talk to them about the election in a way that can be constructive, educational and age-appropriate? Lower School social studies teachers Leslie Smith and Michael Manna compiled their helpful tips to keep in mind when talking to kids about the election: