Democracy Class is a one-class-period program that uses video, a classroom discussion and a mockelection to teach young people the skills to navigate the elections process and engage as active citizens. As part of this national launch of the program, we partnered with local and national organizations including the National Education, the Future Educators Association, YouthBuild and the Youth Policy Institute, the largest after school provider for high schools in the country.

Rock the Vote has served as the leader in engaging young people in politics for over two decades. We have worked to simplify and demystify voter registration and elections for young adults byusing the latest technology and popular culture to energize young Americans to participate in the political process. Holding true to this mission and given the incredible need to foster civic participation among our country’s young people, we developed Democracy Class.

Democracy Class targets high school students across the country, bringing them into the political process and encouraging them to get involved. Through the program, we develop new interactive learning methods to foster civic engagement, reach a generation of young people and register them to vote.

Democracy Class is supported by an impressive and diverse advisory board of education leaders,civic engagement experts and artists, including: Ted McConnell, Executive Director, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, Susan Griffin, Executive Director, National Council of Social Studies, Steve Barr, Founder and ChairEmeritus, Green Dot Public Schools; and Benji and Joel Madden of the band Good Charlotte. A full list of advisory board members is available here.

DemocracyClass.com is a destination for students, offering interviews with Alicia Keys, NBA All-Star Baron Davis, singer Michael Franti, Good Charlotte and Cali Swag District where they discuss the issues that concern them most. The site also features a video with John Legend encouraging students to bring Democracy Class to their school, offers information on volunteer opportunities to register voters and free music from more than 20 different bands.

Lesson Plan Overview:

  • The class begins with a video covering the history of voting rights and how young people are affected by elections.
  • The lesson plan continues with a discussion of national and local issues identified by the students, showing how the leaders we elect to office impact most of our daily concerns.
  • Eligible students are then registered to vote, and non-eligible students have an opportunity to “pledge to vote.”
  • The lesson ends with an in-class mock election where students run for office based on a platform of issues they support.

Program Components:

  • Interactive lesson plan (45 minutes) that uses music and popular culture as a means to teach students about civics and democracy. This can be taught by Rock the Vote staff, or downloaded from the Democracy Day website.
  • An online hub (www.democracyclass.com) allows students to learn more about elections and civic engagement.
  • Videos, music and personal appearances from Rock the Vote artists sharing their thoughts on issues most important to them and encouraging students to take action by participating in politics.
  • Registration of eligible students.
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