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It’s True - Our Voices Make a Difference!

It’s True - Our Voices Make a Difference!

Now we have data to show that youth voices matter and help move the needle towards more civic engagement. With less than 50% of youth aged 18-17 voting, it’s actually more like 30% with some estimates and even less 30% during an election year that is not presidential. 

One reason elders vote with greater numbers is because it’s a good habit formed. My grandparents moved to the United States and one of the first things they did was register to vote. Luckily, voter registration is accessible and available at places that youth visit, such as the DMV when getting a driver's license. Once registering, elders create a habit of voting which is something still developing in youth who are only eligible to vote at 18, or just in school based elections under the age of 18. 

It can also be hard for youth to make arrangements to vote because of work or school schedules. This is where planning ahead or requesting an absentee ballot is useful. 

So…what can we do? We can get engaged and create opportunities for youth to develop their voice. According to a study from Tufts University developing student voice in high school is purportedly supports greater engagement. 

Let’s define what student voice is.

According to the glossary of Education reform, student voice includes, “the values, opinions, beliefs, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students in a school, and to instructional approaches and techniques that are based on student choices, interests, passions, and ambitions.”

This is important for K-12 school personnel to know to support and facilitate student voice through curricula, instruction, independent projects and more. This is also a great affirmation for Reel Voices as we endeavor to create student agency and voice to contribute to our community and story. Also and interesting finding from the research is that students of color a less likely to have experiences in which their voice and opinion mattered. 

Read the research brief yourself! Get out there, and make your voice heard!

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