Google Helps Kids Get Messages to Next PresidentBy: Chris Crum - November 4, 2008
Google (specifically Google Docs) has teamed up with the National Writing Project to sponsor a program that lets students around the U.S. write letters to the presidential candidates in a program appropriately titled: Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future.
After spending a day with a Mississippi high school class, Andrew Chang, Google Docs Marketing Manager says on the Official Google Blog:
During the U.S. presidential campaign season, thousands of middle and high school students (ages 13-18) are writing persuasive letters and essays to the presidential candidates about the issues and concerns that they’d like the next president to address. Teachers are using Google Docs to incorporate online editing, peer review, and revisions, and students are publishing their letters online for their peers, parents, and the public to read.
At Tupelo High, Ellen’s students told me that they were writing about issues such as health care, education, the economy, and the price of gas. I was impressed not only by the variety of issues they were covering, but also by how they were able to describe how these issues affect their lives as well as their family and friends. Although most of Ellen’s students will be too young to vote on Nov. 4, it is heartening to know that they were making a difference by voicing their thoughts through their writing.
This is not the only way Google has gotten involved with the presidential race. Apart from CEO Eric Schmidt’s (not to mention Vint Cerf’s) endorsement of Barack Obabma, the company had a presence at the Democratic National Convention, and several weeks ago, the company announced the launch of a Google Labs project that would allow you to search quotes on any keyword from political figures in Google News stories, and compare them with each other. Naturally, Obama and McCain were in the spotlight on that project. They’ve also released a number of other election-related tools.
While they can’t vote, giving kids an opportunity to lend their voices to the mix is a commendable action, and while this is not entirely Google’s doing, they’re providing the technology and drawing some attention to the project. Perhaps we should all take into account the concerns of the nation’s children. They are the future after all.
UPDATE: Google is reporting a total of more than 5,200 letters from the project which can be read at Letters2President.org.