Essay Winners Visit Sacramento!

On Wednesday, March 8th LegiSchool had the pleasure of hosting 10 high school students at our annual Legislative Summit, held at the State Capitol. Our essay contest winners had the opportunity to speak with members of the state legislature; as well as education policy experts on the topic of deciding to delay school start times.

To start the day, students were given an introduction to state government by the Executive Director of the Center for California Studies, Steve Boilard. We then welcomed our panelists, Assemblymember O’Donnell, Jeanice Warden, and Senator Portantino to discuss with our students a new bill (SB 328) on delaying school start times. While students had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions, they witnessed lawmakers tackle education policy firsthand.

In the afternoon, students were led on a VIP tour of the State Capitol. They visited the Assembly and Senate galleries. Students were then introduced to the legislative side of the building. Their guide discussed with them the next generation’s role in state government and encouraged them to participate early.

all students, tour 2.jpgPhoto taken by Fountain Valley High School teacher Sean Ziebarth

Following the tour, students attended their final panel. This panel focused on the policy concerns of delaying school start times. Education representatives from the state, district and county answered students’ questions on school funding, local vs. state government and how the proposed legislation (SB 328) would affect their communities.


The day ended with the students visiting their representative’s offices. Each student left their member’s offices excited after being individually recognized and congratulated by their representatives.  For some students, this is a once in a lifetime chance and we are so pleased students enjoyed themselves in Sacramento!

Many thanks to the panelists, chaperones, presenters, lawmakers and their staff that contributed to making our summit a success!



Essay Winners at the Capitol

On March 2nd, our essay winners from around the state gathered together in Sacramento to meet with lawmakers and talk to them about their ideas regarding youth political participation.

To begin the day, students met with Assemlymember Talamantes Eggman, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Civic Engagement. She talked with them about the importance of getting involved in your community, using examples from her past to illustrate her point. Students had the chance to ask her a lot of great questions about her work, her life, and her career. She had some amazing words of wisdom and advice that she passed on to the winners.


StudentsRegisteringNext, Assemblymember Gonzalez spoke with students about her efforts to increase political participation among youth – including a bill she is authoring to lower the voting age for some elections to 16. In addition, Continue reading

Political Participation by Youth – Part 5

Photo Credit: Colin McPherson, from the Independent article “Election 2015: How to encourage young people to vote

We are now wrapping up our series on political participation by youth. With each post, we’ve revealed 2 of our contest winners’ thoughts on this very important topic (to see the full series and all our winners, click here).

Let’s end the series where we began: highlighting the decisive power young people can have in an election. The Millenials now outnumber the Baby Boomers, which makes them the largest living generation. If they show up at the polls in 2016 as often as Baby Boomers do, they will have an enormous impact on the election.

Where will they have the most impact?  Continue reading

Political Participation by Youth – Part 4

Lowering the voting age is one of the many ideas floating around about how we can increase young voter participation. And, one of the most fun to talk about with students because it directly impacts them.

The strong push to lower the voting age to 16 years old is currently led by a nonpartisan group called Generation Citizen, whose mission is to ensure every young person receives an effective action civics education. They believe lowering the voting age will help cultivate lifelong participation in politics. As reported by the New York Times article, “advocates argue that lowering the voting age would increase turnout, allow teenagers to weigh in on issues that directly affect them and push schools to improve civic education.” Opponents, however, believe that young people may not be mature enough for the responsibility to vote, and may make uninformed decisions. And some critics believe the tactic is fueled by liberal politicians as a way of garnering more support.

How do young Californians feel about the issue? Continue reading

Political Participation by Youth – Part 3

In the third installment of our series on youth political participation, we are turning to one question that NPR recently asked: why does Bernie Sanders resonate so well with young voters? It is a question that has received a lot of attention lately, from both Republican and Democrats. The Washington Post article “Why millenials love Bernie Sanders and why that may not be enough” points to a number of reasons why the oldest candidate in the race appeals so well to the youngest voters. According the article, young people feel inspired by his messaging, drawn to his “idealism and authenticity – and his unvarnished take on their everyday realities.” As a result, the number of youth that support Bernie Sanders far surpasses the support received by any other candidate, in either party.

Cecilia Cherubini, a college student, notes “it’s great to have someone from another generation seeing what we’re seeing.” He relates to young people and he speaks about the issues that young voters care about: the cost of a college education, finding a job after graduation, the economy… In these messages young voters see passion and hope.

Will Bernie Sanders harness the power of young voters and win the election?  Continue reading