Student Voices Project
About Student Voices
The Seattle Student Voices Project represents a year-long civic education curriculum designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for young people to become active and effective citizens. Unlike many programs that are extracurricular and tend to attract students who are already politically informed and civically motivated, Seattle Student Voices works with the entire Seattle school system and is classroom-based. The program has succeeded not simply with elite groups of students, but also with young people living in deep poverty at underachieving schools, thus counteracting the political inequality that has been developing in America. Moreover, by creating a network of Seattle high school classes whose students are all simultaneously considering local issues, the program creates a sense of community among its participants, as they work together to give youth a greater voice in the public sphere.
Student Voices encourages active civic and political engagement by students in their neighborhoods and schools, as well as with the press and political aspirants. It is intended to increase students' knowledge and understanding of political processes and institutions, as well as their ability to find information and make use of it as evidence in argument and rhetoric. Ultimately, the objective is to increase voting and improve the competence of individuals to participate in the public sphere. Classroom visits and forums are held with candidates and partnerships are forged with local media to produce positive coverage of young people and their involvement with the politcal process.
The Student Voices Project was created in 2000 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past four years, the project has been launched in 11 cities, including Seattle through seed funding from The Annenberg Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts The Seattle Student Voices Project was first implemented in Seattle High Schools in 2001-2002. In that year we conducted extensive evaluations of the program goals. Similar to the results of program evaluations in other cities, these findings speak to the robust effectiveness of the curriculum in achieving its stated goals. As indicated in the analyses reported below, the most important features of the curriculum were the direct participation aspects, including classroom visits by candidates and campaign staff, click polls on issues posted on the project web site, and various in-class discussions and deliberations on local issues and the election. In 2004-2005, Student Voices developed a working relationship with the Seattle Channel to enable production, streaming, webcasting, and live televised distribution of student forums with leaders and other student-produced programming. Click here for a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about a student interview program with the Seattle Police Chief.
For a full report based on the evaluation of the Student Voices project click here.
The Seattle Student Voices Project is under the direction of Lance Bennett, and housed at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement at the University of Washington, Lance Bennett, Director.
Visit the national Student Voices website here.
Support for 2005-2006 Student Voices is gratefully acknowledged from the Norcliffe
Foundation, the Charlotte Martin Foundation, and the Annenberg Policy Foundation.
Seattle Student Voices Heard in City Council - Posted 05.17.05
Student Voices program gives teens the ear of people in power - Seattle PI, 03.26.04
Northgate SV students grab City Hall's ear - Student Voices News, 01/16/04
Knocking Down Barriers to Civic Engagement - Seattle Times, 8/01/01
High-schoolers Grill Candidates - Seattle Times, 10/25/01
Mayoral Candidates Speak to Teens in Kane - The UW Daily, 10/25/01
A Civics Lesson From Mayoral Candidates - Seattle P-I, 11/05/01
Programs Aimed to Propel Youths Toward the Polls - Seattle Times, 11/05/01
Some Youthful Advice for Seattle's New Mayor - Seattle Times, 11/12/01
These Kids are Warming Up Their Political Muscles- Seattle PI, 01/28/02
Project Gives Students Political Voice - Ruby de Luna, KUOW, 10/02/01
The Mayoral Debate - The Conversation with Ross Reynolds, KUOW, 10/25/01
Interview with Lance Bennett, Project Director - Anita Moffett, KYPT 94.1
Interview with Lance Bennett - Don Riggs, KMPS 94.1
Mayoral Forum - TVW, 10/25/01 (Mayoral Forum in its entirety)
Teen Mayoral Debate - Northwest Cable News, 10/28/01. (News Story)
Program Takes Mayors to High Schools - King 5 News, 11/03/01 (NBC Affiliate)