Presentation on theme: "2012 VERA WORKSHOP sponsored by New England Literacy Resource Center/ World Education New England Voter Education, Registration and Action (VERA) Campaign."— Presentation transcript:
2012 VERA WORKSHOP sponsored by New England Literacy Resource Center/ World Education New England Voter Education, Registration and Action (VERA) Campaign
VERA Workshop Agenda Opening What is VERA? Voting is... activity What Difference Does It Make? activity History of Voting Rights activity Review Selected Activities in The Change Agent Share Experiences and Activities Information on the 2012 Elections in Our State VERA sign-up Questions
VERA Workshop Objectives Participants will 1. clarify their thinking about voter education as part of ABE, GED, Adult HS Diploma, ESOL curriculum. 2. learn how to implement 1-3 classroom activities. 3. learn about voter motivation and education practices that have been successful in other programs. 4. become familiar with New England’s non-partisan Voter Education, Registration and Action campaign.
What is VERA? Non-partisan campaign in which all six New England states’ adult education community participate. The goal is to educate adult learners about voting and the topical electoral issues, and mobilize them to vote through classroom and program activities. Sponsored by the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education every four years during presidential elections since 1996.
VERA 2008 17,634 adult learners participated across the six states. 80% of adult learners eligible to vote voted. Over 40% registered to vote and voted for the first time. 8,300 adults participated even though they were not eligible to vote. Mock elections at the International Institute of Boston, 2008
What did students have to say? “I never thought about voting before. I had bigger problems in life, but I look around here and I see so many people having so many problems. In my class, we studied the pros and cons of different issues to help us form our opinions. My top issues are housing and homelessness, and a woman's right to choose.” - Karen Lynch, Julie’s Family Learning Program, Boston, MA
Opening Activity: Voting is... (20 mins) There are no right or wrong answers; you can pass; no pressure. In pairs, throw a dice and quickly brainstorm an answer to complete one of the following sentences that corresponds to the number you throw : ROUND 1: Voting is... 1. important because... 2. similar to... 3. opposite of... 4. potential problem for... 5. [Adjective] because ROUND 2: Teaching about voting is... 1. 1. important because... 2. similar to... 3. opposite of.. 4. potential problem for... 5. [Adjective] because
What would you add to this list? Read Do You Vote quotes from adult learners (p. 8). Interview each other: Do you vote and why? Tally the results as a class and develop a bar graph. Do the rest of the discussion questions and activities (p. 9).
How Do You Participate? p. 3-4 TCA Using the grid, take a moment to make a list of ways you participate Divide into groups and discuss the different ways people contribute to society what motivated you to do these things and how did you learn to do this? Did you learn theses skills through your HS educational experience?
The History of Voting Rights Activity, p. 30 TCA + http://www.nelrc.org/changeagent/extras/index.htm -- Scroll down to Issue #26 http://www.nelrc.org/changeagent/extras/index.htm Benefits: Gets everybody up and out of their chairs. Invites everyone’s knowledge as well as teaches history. Gives people an immediate feeling of inclusion and exclusion – which is interesting to reflect on later. Communicates the fluid nature of institutions and that they are shaped by our actions and by social movements. Is memorable in a way that a lecture is not!
How Does it Work? Assign “identities” to people in the class – e.g., “Wealthy White Male,” “African American Female,” “Immigrant,” etc. Put a “Can’t Vote” sign on one side of the room… …and a “Can Vote” sign on the other side of the room. Wealthy White Male African American female Immigrant
At the beginning of U.S. history, who could vote? Read the script out loud. The script narrates the history of voting rights in the United States. Pause as new developments occur in history which affect people’s voting rights. Ask people to move to the “Can” or “Can’t Vote” side of the room depending on what their identity is.
People win voting rights over time… People often get very enthusiastic when their demographic wins the right to vote. You can see a perkiness to their step when they cross over to the “Can Vote” side of the room.
And they lose voting rights as well… The story of voting rights in America turns out to be very fluid – with the right being won and lost – often several times over throughout the course of history. There are also numerous opportunities for debate among the participants. For example, did the poll tax and literacy tests exclude all African Americans from voting or just some?
History of Voting Rights Pre-activities: What are some things you could do before this activity to better prepare your students? Collect what people already know about the history of voting rights. Were rights given? Did some people have to fight for them? Who had to fight? For a dynamic 3.5 minute history of voting rights watch this: http://democracyday.com/history- of-voting-video.html What is a Constitutional Amendment? Generate a list of vocabulary words that might be helpful.
History of Voting Rights Post-activities: What are some things you could do afterwards to process the experience? What extensions might you develop? How did it feel to not be able to vote? To vote? To lose the right to vote? How does it make you feel about voting in real life? Note the history of voting section of Issue #26 of The Change Agent for many ideas and for additional activities and extensions. How are voting rights in flux in your community today? Note the photos below of current struggles to gain voting rights for immigrants and ex-felons.
The Change Agent Democracy in Action issue #26 Do You Vote? Writings by adult learners, pp. 8-9 Let’s Get Out the Adult Education Vote! Strategies for adult ed, p. 28 History of Voting. A classroom activity, pp. 30-32 Is Voting a Right for Every Citizen? Voting rights in the contemporary context, pp. 34-36 Voting: My Obligation to Past, Present, and Future. Adult learner’s view on voting, p. 37 What Difference Does It make? Rationale for voting, p. 51 Politicalese: Spotting Election Campaign Tactics, p. 52 Using the Media to Analyze Political News, p. 55 How Do We Elect the President? p. 58 Referendums, p. 63-64 What is a Caucus? p. 65 A Simulated Town Meeting: An Experience in Democracy, a role play, pp. 72-73
Sample Program Strategies Mock elections The Change Agent pp. 28-29 Candidates’ wall & forum History of Voting Rights activities Student-infomercials about voting See http://aacs15.com/?q=node/692/play Guest speakers and visits with legislators Program-wide election day activities and rides to the polls What else?
2012 VERA Sign-Up & Reporting Process www.nelrc.org/VERA Sign up process same as in 2008 via online “survey” Reporting via Google Forms