Tuned In

The Swing (Set) Vote

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Wordgirl image courtesy of PBS

Wordgirl image courtesy of PBS

Tuned In Jr. Jr. is in his first year of school and has had his first encounter with direct democracy. His pre-K class has held a vote on its class nickname: “The Star Wars” won in a landslide over “The Kitty Cats.” There is apparently some question of whether the name should be amended to some other variation on “Star,” because “Wars” may suggest that the classroom is a threatening place. Sigh. I’m guessing my preferred alternative, The Death Stars, will not fly. 


Elsewhere in children’s-democracy news, we have results in the Nickelodeon kids’ vote I wrote about earlier: Obama eked out a 51% to 49% win over McCain. Obama won by a larger margin in the Scholastic News poll, confirming my longtime suspicion that Scholastic News has an egregious liberal bias. And finally today, in the Weekly Reader poll—one of zillions of supposed electoral bellwethers, having gone for the eventual winner for the last 13 elections except 1992—the nation’s K-through-12th graders proved themselves in the tank for Obama.

And now PBS plans to spend Election Day offering up politics-themed episodes of kids’ shows: on Wordgirl, Becky runs for student council while attempting to save the city from robots (but sadly, not robocalls); on Cyberchase, Hacker runs a campaign against Motherboard; and on Arthur, Lance Armstrong helps Binky campaign for new bike-safety lanes. (I’m not sure what I think about this kinder and gentler Binky, but that’s neither here nor there.) Meanwhile, pbskidsgo.org has added a pile of online election features, including The Democracy Project.

So parents: help your kids learn about the wonders of democracy! It’s the first step in a lifelong journey toward becoming a cynical disaffected voter!