San Francisco -- Teens may not yet be able to vote, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to say about election issues. As students head back to school amidst a particularly intense fall election season, educators across the nation have come together to launch the online publishing site, Letters to the Next President 2.0 (L2P 2.0).
An initiative that empowers young people (13 – 18) to research, write and make media letters, L2P 2.0 gives voice to the opinions on issues that matter to youth in the coming election. Jointly hosted by PBS member station KQED and the National Writing Project, L2P 2.0 is a massive publishing project that will eventually publish thousands of letters. With the opening of the school year, teens’ submissions have already begun to appear online at http://www.letters2president.org.
“Candidates and media are concentrating on issues that matter to voters in this election season,” said Ellen Coplan Holderman, KQED Education’s communications and engagement manager. “Students and teachers in our nation’s schools are concentrating on issues that matter to the next generation of voters. We support American schools’ mission to engage youth in civic participation and responsibility, and L2P 2.0 gives teens an important, safe platform to voice their opinions and ideas.”
Each letter appears alongside thousands of others from youth around the United States, highlighting a remarkable diversity of ideas and perspectives. From immigration policy to the environment, education to health care, young people have a space to share their perspectives with peers and a global community of interested followers. Educators or adult mentors create accounts on the L2P 2.0 website and then invite their students to register and begin crafting letters in written or multimedia formats.
“Letters to the Next President 2.0 has been developed by educators who understand that civic engagement is valuable in its own right,” said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, executive director of the National Writing Project. “When we give students a platform to speak out on issues, we provide them with a powerful and authentic purpose for learning, writing and media making. The initiative provides a wealth of resources and support for educators, in school and beyond, and thanks to the power and reach of digital publishing, it provides the nation with a real-time window to what teens care about.”
This publishing website will stay open for student submissions through November 8, and all published letters are available to the public now through the new president’s first 100 days in office in early 2017.