Students Critical of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles have been getting some attention from local, state, and national levels. Companies such as Google, Uber, and General Motors have begun testing this new technology. LegiSchool’s Town Hall on autonomous vehicles gave students the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask challenging questions to a panel of knowledgeable experts.

In order to prepare the students for the topic, they were given a curriculum guide. Included in the guide is a thorough introduction to autonomous vehicles; as well as activities for students to start thinking critically about this emerging technology. These curriculum guides can also serve as a great tool for students who are unable to attend the Town Halls in person.

During the Town Hall panel, most students were hesitant to embrace autonomous vehicles, and this was voiced through their critical questions of the panelists. The dialogue gave the policy experts some ideas on what students worried about most (liability, ethical dilemmas, safety and the future of licensing). By the end of the panel, some students left with a different view, while others continued to voice concerns.

After lunch, students were welcomed by Capitol staffers and led on tours throughout the Capitol. Students had the privilege of visiting the Assembly and Senate Galleries, as well as locating their member’s offices.

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Many thanks to our panelists that participated (left to right):

  • Captain Sean Duryee, Commander of Commercial Vehicle Section for the California CHP
  • Lieutenant Reggie Williams, Government Relations for the California CHP
  • Juanita Martinez, Western Regional Manager for General Motors
  • Brian Soublet, Chief Counsel and Deputy Director for the California DMV

And a special shout out to our schools that traveled from across Northern and Central California to attend: Kingsburg High School, San Lorenzo High School and Madera South High School. We hope to be working with even more schools in the future!

Interested in participating in our Town Halls or utilizing our free curriculum guides? Email to sign up for updates.


Announcing Our Photo Contest Winners!

The caliber of photos we received in this year’s “California Through My Eyes” contest was pretty amazing. Our judges had no small task in trying to select our winner and runners-up, all of whom received a cash prize. In addition, the judges helped select about 60 photos to be named for honorable mention. The final results (showcased below) are pretty incredible and illustrate the diversity and wonder of the state of California! You can also see all of these photos on display at the State Capitol building, starting June 20. They’ll be located on the third floor of the annex.

Hundreds of student photographers participated from 54 high school around the state, submitting not only their photo but an essay describing how their photo represents California. We want to thank the schools, districts and legislative offices that helped spread the word about the contest, which we hope allows students to exercise their creativity while thinking critically about what California means to them.



EMELY PUENTE, Bellflower High School

Emely was selected as the grand prize winner for her photo, Lost in Thought, a portrait of her grandfather sitting at his home. As she notes, her grandparents “made themselves a part of California when they arrived in the early 70’s. They had to support their 8 children together so they made a living as strawberry pickers, working as a mechanic and being a housemaid…My generation will never understand what it is like to struggle – we get things handed down to us instead of earning it. This is California through my eyes.”

RUNNERS – UP ($100), in alphabetical order  Continue reading

And the winners are…

In 2014, LegiSchool introduced an editorial cartoon contest into our portfolio of civic education opportunities, and the response we received was overwhelmingly positive. So, we’ve made the contest an annual affair!

Each year, we partner with KQED’s The Lowdown to invite high school students to express their opinions on current issues by creating an original editorial cartoon. The purpose of the contest is to incite critical thinking on contemporary issues by young people in our state. Winning entries receive cash prizes and are published on the KQED website.

Students were allowed to submit a cartoon based on any issue that is relevant to California this year. As you can see from the results, 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 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