Letters to the Next President

Missions
Feb 1, 2016
Image for issue at Youth Voices

Photo by Delaney Barnett

Will you: 

In November 2016 voters in the U.S. will elect a new president. What do you believe is the most urgent issue for the new President to tackle?

On November 8, 2016, voters in the U.S. will elect a new president, as well as 469 members of Congress. Whichever candidates are elected, they will face an array of pressing issues at home and abroad, all demanding attention and action.

Where do we start?

Voters can express their priorities in the voting booth—but young people also deserve to be heard. It’s your future too. What do you believe is the most urgent issue for the new President to tackle? What would you say to the candidates for the 469 seats open in Congress? What would you want the voting public to think about as they go to the polls?

Your response will be published for the candidates and the voting public. Can you convince them of the importance of the issue you care about? Can you move them to action on November 8 … and after?

Step 1. Make a list of issues that interest you. Do some background reading to find out more about these issues. Discuss your findings with your classmates.

Step 2. Choose an issue and discover more about it.

Step 3. Annotate at least two articles that support one side of the issue. Summarize your findings in a Google Doc that you share with your teacher. Be sure to cite the sources by providing a direct link to the original articles.

Step 4. Annotate at least two articles that oppose the issue (or represent another perspective of the issue). Summarize your findings in a Google Doc that you share with your teacher. Be sure to cite the sources by providing a direct link to the original articles.

Step 5. Provide at least two examples of people or groups who support the issue. In your Google Doc identify at least three facts provided by the groups and three opinions.

Step 6. Repeat Step 5 for people or groups who oppose the issue (or have different perspectives).

Step 7. Interview other people who have some knowledge of the issue. Consider recording their responses with their permission.

Step 8. Make up your own mind. Use the facts and opinions from your research and interviews to compose an original argument that supports or opposes (or qualifies) an issue. You might compose a hand-written letter to the President, or you might create a short video or podcast, but whatever the case, compose an argument that clearly articulates how you stand based on what you've learned through your research so far.

Step 9. Submit your work to the Letters to the Next President website, and/or promote your composition through social media.

Step 10. Engage in conversations with others about what you've learned, either in person or using social media.