What Kids Want from Obama's Next Four Years

Monday, January 21, 2013


Child advocates interviewed the nation’s children about what they want out of President Obama’s second term. The groups have compiled a video of the responses, and want President Obama to watch it.

Child advocates interviewed some of the nation’s children about what they want out of President Obama’s second term.  The groups have compiled a video of the responses, and they want President Obama to watch it.

The effort was coordinated by the Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of organizations in the child and youth advocacy field.

They called for submissions from children 5 to 25 and made a video of the responses.

Some of the kids interviewed for the video are from New York City.

“What I really want to talk about is gun control,” said Emelie Seaman, a student at the School for the Future.

She said there are many tests for car drivers, but not enough for gun owners.  She wants President Obama to institute more regulations for gun holders.

Several children expressed concern that teacher evaluations are often linked to standardized testing scores, instead of to observing teachers in the classrooms,” said Caitlin Johnson, co-founder of Spark-Action, a children’s advocacy organization that created the videos.

Other students want the President to diversity the public school curriculum.

“Kids in American are just being taught to memorize and they’re not being taught to just comprehend what they’re learning,” said 15-year-old Zaki Messaoud, a student at the School of the Future in Gramercy Park.

Other hot topics included bullying and violence in classrooms.  Many students also wanted the President to address hunger in schools, and to keep the school lunch program in place.  Some asked President Obama to follow through on his healthcare plan, and expressed concern about the rising cost of healthcare, and how it affects their parents.


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Comments [2]

Caitlin from NYC

Hi Elizabeth, we think it's actually very important for young people to be seen and heard when it comes to policymaking. There's a growing body of research finding that when young people's perspectives and ideas are heard (whether through a local youth council, say, or by direct input to community leaders and policymakers), the result is better, more responsive and yes, more cost-effective governance.

Over 400 cities, counties, and states across the US have councils or other mechanisms through which authentic and properly supported youth input into policy (and at least nine national organizations including the Red Cross, the UN Foundation, State Farm Insurance Company and the State Department have youth councils or advisory boards). They are credited with multiple successes, ranging from policy advice that has saved cities hundreds of thousands of dollars, to corporate giving guidance resulting in more than $30 million to quality grantees.

Especially in public systems where young people are the direct beneficiaries (education, foster care, medicaid, etc), youth input has led to some important innovation. In Nashville, a youth council member suggested having student ID cards work as discount transit passes - making it easier for students to get to tutoring and after-school activities. That wasn't something the adults had even considered. The Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit, has the specific story.

Jan. 28 2013 03:50 PM

Oh, please. I don't care what kids what from the president. Who does WNYC think it's pandering to with this drivel? This paying member prefers children to be seen and not heard unless they start paying for memberships.

Jan. 21 2013 02:22 PM

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