With election day looming next Tuesday, parents have a wonderful chance to turn local politics into a civics lesson for their children. If it is possible for you to take your students with you to the polling station, you should do so. Talk with your children about the candidates, the issues and the process.

Washington, D.C. offers an extensive early voting program, which allows residents to vote in any of the 8 wards, so people have the possibility to vote near work as well as near their homes. This might help explain why Washington, D.C. was one of the few districts in the country that had more than 50% of the population vote in the 2016 election. Early voting ends today. I voted last Sunday.

With a mayor’s race and some city council seats up for grabs, 2018 is an important year for local politics. While your children may hear more about national races, it is worthwhile to review for them the city government structure, so they understand how our city is governed. Also, with important nearby races for Governor in Maryland and senator in Virginia, you may want to consider taking your children to do Get Out the Vote work this weekend for local campaigns just outside the District. While children may feel that the lack of representation makes Washington, D.C. residents lack electoral power, there are still multiple ways for students to exercise their civic duties, and they may enjoy putting their rhetorical skills to use discussing upcoming races with people from Maryland and Virginia.

Politics is a natural means of discourse for graduates of Washington Latin because of our focus on public speaking, writing, and critical thinking. WLPCS Alumni have gotten involved in local politics both as an ANC Chair and as a political reporter for City Paper (see news blurbs below). Ms. Smith always reminds teachers to “teach the controversy,” so political discussions are often a part of a wide variety of our classes. Our community council helps student take part in a simulation of a city council, and our student journalists at Sumus Leones enjoy interviewing their peers about current events, from Supreme Court confirmations to civil liberties issues.