Future voters at Chestatee Middle School are debating today's issues by blogging. Social studies students have honed their writing and researching skills by participating in a Web log. The seventh- and eighth-graders use the Web site to write persuasive entries and then comment on each other's opinions.
Their most recent assignment was to write about who they would vote for in the presidential election and why. To prepare for the assignment they have researched issues and the candidates and even watched the debates.
"Even though they don't get to vote in this election, they will have to live with the results," teacher Chuck Bennett said. "I reminded them that their generation will have to pay for whatever problems my generation creates."
Students at Chestatee Middle also participated in a mock presidential election sponsored by the University of Virginia. The results of the nationwide election were released Friday.
In the vote of Chestatee students, Republicans swept the field. John McCain beat Barack Obama, 57 percent to 41 percent. Saxby Chambliss won the Senate race over Jim Martin, 60 percent to 33 percent. Nathan Deal won the 9th District House seat over Jeff Scott, 63 percent to 32 percent.
Statewide, Democrats fared much better. Across Georgia, students voted for Obama, 59 percent to 38 percent. Jim Martin won the statewide Senate contest, 49 percent to 40 percent. In the districtwide vote, Nathan Deal won the 9th District race, 59 percent to 38 percent.
Students across the nation voted for Obama over McCain 60 percent to 36 percent. More than 800 students at Chestatee voted. Across the nation a record 3 million students participated in the election run by the Youth Leadership Initiative.
On their blog, Chestatee students showed an interest in the same sorts of issues as adults. Here are some excerpts (Note: Students' names are used with the teacher's permission):
"If Barack Obama was to become president, he wouldn't be as strong as John McCain. He would take troops out and all that money would go to waste." - Maegan Kenimer
"We're spending 10 billion dollars a month on the war and that money could be better spent on us. That money could be put towards health care, alternative fuels and infrastructure." - Holly Burress
"I agree with McCain that we should stay in Iraq until violence is down and the ethnic groups stop fighting each other. If we pulled out of Iraq now, Iraq would be divided and Iran would exert more control over the region." - Austin Hollman
"We need to give the immigrants a chance to become a citizen of the United States because they came here to become something great and to have freedom." - Casey Atkins
Taxes and the economy
"Joe the Plumber wanted to own a plumbing business that he worked for twenty years, but was afraid that if he bought the business, then he would have to pay too much tax. People like Joe have been thinking like this for a while now, and I would like to tell you that all of this is false. Obama's tax cut would end up cutting Joe's taxes instead of raising them." - Zachery Boerger
"If Obama raises taxes it could make the common American family plummet into debt and cause more financial trouble and the economy could plummet down into a depression and we'd be living in Hoovervilles." - Brock White
"With the economy as it is we could not afford to have another Republican as the president. To this country, another Republican could mean four more years of a downward slope for this economy." - Mickey Timpone
"McCain wants to continue the Bush tax cuts to avoid job killing tax increases on small businesses, which create 70% of all jobs in the U.S." - Katie Hunter
"John McCain wants to keep the Bush tax cuts which does not help the middle class. He also wants to cut large corporation taxes from 35% to 25%. That is only helping the little guys." - Lauren McNitt
"I think everyone should pay an equal percent of taxes. Just because you're wealthy doesn't mean you should be treated differently." - Amber Reynolds
"Obama will also get involved in researching alternative energy such as solar power, wind turbines and ethanol fuel for cars. John McCain is not concentrating a whole lot on alternative energy. Instead he wants to start drilling offshore." - Matt Logan
"If we're being attacked by another country and it's putting our country in a great deal of danger, we need to have a president who's going to react quickly and make the correct decision as well. McCain will use his experience to make the correct decision. Obama, on the other hand, might not do as well. Seeing that he is more laid back, it'll take him longer to make the right decision. Not only that, I think he lacks the experience that McCain has." - Johnathon West
"I believe that Obama is a great role model for many African-Americans and a hero for all of the parents who are struggling to afford the necessities of life." - Jesse Neece