In an unprecedented effort to engage young individuals about the importance of participating in city and nation-wide elections, Detroit Public Schools teamed up with the Detroit Department of Elections to host a city-wide Mock Election providing an authentic electoral setting at 22 DPS high school locations on May 19, 2016.
During the exercise, DPS high school students received the opportunity to cast their vote on who they feel the next president of the United States should be, as well as make their voices heard about two issues they felt passionate about within their schools. The two school-based issues that were voted on were crafted by the students for a real-life opportunity developed to expose DPS students, who will become tomorrow’s voters, on the fundamental nature of democracy.
The district-specific proposals included:
1. Should DPS implement an annual building maintenance inspection for all schools?
- Issues to consider:
A. Poor conditions, cleanliness, safety, aesthetics, toiletry supplies and privacy has been called into question in some schools.
B. In today’s hard economic times, is it wise for DPS to invest in a yearly building maintenance scheme for all schools?
Result: 92.93 percent voted YES and 7.17 percent voted NO.
2. Should the DPS student body be represented on the School Board?
- Issues to consider:
A. Is it wise and feasible for students to have a say on the direction and running of DPS?
B. Would having student representation on the School Board have a positive or negative impact on DPS?
Result: 87.54 percent voted YES and 12.46 percent voted NO.
Felicia Venable DPS’ Acting Executive Director of Operations says she agrees with the results and appreciates the opportunity for increased accountability on all ends.
“I think the mock election has proven to be a valuable experience of the democratic process for students and I agree with the results,” said Venable. “I have no hesitation in making the inspection reports and ultimately the issuance of the compliance certificates available at the school, as well as online.”
The presidential results included:
- Bernie Sanders – 2,844 votes (58.12 percent)
- Hillary Clinton – 1,857 votes (37.95 percent)
- Ted Cruz – 549 votes (19.54 percent)
- Ben Carson – 539 votes (19.18 percent)
- Uncommitted (D) – 104 votes (2.13 percent)
- Uncommitted (R) – 852 votes (30.32 percent)
In additional to students learning about the voting process and exercising the right to vote, eligible participants were given the chance to sign up to work the polls for the state of Michigan’s Primary (August 2) and General Election (November 8) dates.
These educational yet practical opportunities help to prepare students for the day when they will come to a Detroit Public School no longer to attend class, but to cast their vote in an election.
For more DPS information and upcoming events/opportunities, visit www.detroitk12.org or call 313-433-240-4377.