Last night in Iowa, Americans voted in the first U.S. primary for the 2016 presidential election. Both the Republican and Democratic races were extremely tight. While Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were less than a percentage point away from each other, Ted Cruz decisively won the Republican vote, beating out Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, among others.
How would this vote have gone differently if kids were allowed to vote? In English Language Arts class, 6th graders were recently asked by their teacher, Mrs. Coes, to write a persuasive essay arguing who should be president. Here are some excerpts from students who agreed to share their perspectives publicly. (Note: We didn’t edit their writing at all, so please excuse any grammatical errors and focus on their message.)
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Why Hillary Clinton is best on climate change: Hillary Clinton will focus on climate change by working on renewable energy. One of her many goals is that every home in America will be running on renewable energy in just ten years. She wants to run America largely on solar panels. She wants to get 500 million solar panels on homes around America. Hillary Clinton wants to run America on more than just solar panels. She also wants America to run on hydro power. She wants to create a cleaner hydropower.
Why Bernie Sanders is best on healthcare: Bernie Sanders thinks that people should not have high prices on prescriptions. He wants poor people to be able to get medicines and not have to pay for it. He also wants everyone to have health care even if he can’t pay for it. This can affect people’s lives if they can’t pay for medicine. If someone can’t pay for medicine and are/get really sick they might have to go to the hospital. If that person goes to the hospital, their family and/or themselves will have to pay a larger fee. If someone cannot go to the hospital because they can not pay for the ambulance, then they won’t be able to go to the hospital.
Why Donald Trump is best on healthcare: Donald Trump will break the healthcare insurance company and will allow people to buy insurance across the state lines. This means if you move to another state you can keep your health insurance. You will now need to pay for healthcare insurance but it is affordable. This affects people’s life because some families work hard for there money when other families can just get it free. People could have more choices with Donald Trump.
Why Bernie Sanders is best on the Iran Nuclear Deal: To try and stop them with force, we would go to war. Bernie Sanders wants to stop them peacefully. He would do that by talking with their leader and convincing them to step down and get rid of it. That would affect lives because if we go to war then family members might have to go fight them. Bernie Sanders might let them have the nuclear weapon as long as they do not hurt anyone. Bernie Sanders said that we would watch them if people decided to let them have it. It would be constant surveillance.
Why Hillary Clinton is best on immigration: Hillary Clinton has the best solutions when it comes to immigration. For instance, she thinks that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay. However, if they constantly commit crimes they will be deported from the USA. In addition, she thinks that the secure fence act of 2006 should be be followed up on.
Why Bernie Sanders is best on equality: Bernie Sanders wants to keep same-sex marriage for the whole country. He wants there to be equal rights for everyone. Bernie Sanders is against the “Marriage Protection Amendment” because it says that this country will consist only of man and woman unity. This can affect people’s lives if they are gay and or already married. This can affect children because their parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles might be gay. People don’t know who is gay or not, maybe a friend’s parent(s) are gay.
Why Hillary Clinton is best on healthcare: Hillary Clinton thinks it is not right that medicine prices go up without any reason. For instance, if you have asthma it would be harder to afford the medicine if it was previously $5, but is now $100. What are you going to do? As a result, she challenges them by sending them complaints that the prices should not go up. This makes a difference because she has been a federal figure. Which usually tends to make people listen to her. Also, to many people in poverty can’t afford healthcare.
Why Ben Carson is best on education: Dr. Carson has exclaimed that the Common Core standards have become a propaganda system in most states. Standardized testing is now a big competition for the “smartest” school. If the people, as a democracy, help to eliminate the requirement for Common Core standards, it will allow students to branch out, and learn more effectively.
Why Hillary Clinton is best on equality: There is no space for discrimination in today’s world. She wanted everyone to have equal rights no matter who you are where you are or how old you are everyone deserves equality. She also believes that military worker should be treated fairly because there is no reason that they should not be treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. There were 14,000 soldiers let down because of their sexual orientation she wants to go into their records and change it saying that they got let down in an honorable way.
Why Hillary Clinton is best on education: Hillary Clinton will focus on education by making college more affordable. She wants to make college something that not only the rich can experience, but the middle class and below as well. She wants to make community college free and she wants to help out former college students. She does not want former college students to have debt hanging over their head. She will help people refinance college loans. She will also make it so the government will no longer get money from student loans.
Why Bernie Sanders is best on the economy: He will raise paychecks, and minimum wages for everybody. He will make the rich pay more taxes than the middle class, so the money gap will become smaller. That will help him lessen the gap between the rich and the middle class. He will make sure that 1 family will not own more than 130 million Americans. That will make sure that the income is fairly spread out, and the difference between rich and middle class will lessen, and not grow larger.
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As you can see, the debates were heated. As is typical in Massachusetts, the majority of students focused on democratic candidates. At the end of the unit, several students changed their mind about who they would vote for. Mrs. Coes asked, “After writing about a political candidate, would you vote for this person if you were old enough to vote? Why or why not?” One student who wrote about Donald Trump decided that he didn’t like Trump’s views on women’s rights after all, and several others also changed their minds after doing more research. Other students stayed committed to their candidates. In response to the question about if he would vote for the candidate about whom he wrote his essay, one student answered “No. Because I can’t base my info on a child’s work.”
So, there you have it. Maybe it’s best to give them a few more years to do their research.