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Week 2: Jason Kelce’s Eagles Education Season

Each week this season, the Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman compares Philly schools to those of our on-field competitors—and celebrates a local education innovation. This week, he looks at Atlanta

Hey, Philly! It’s no secret that professional athletes are often put on a pedestal and given a platform to try to influence the public. But I’ve been thinking: There’s one place where your voice matters as much as anybody else’s, no matter how much more fame, money, or touchdowns they may have on you—the voting booth.

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Teaching students to speak their minds by voting is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can give a kid. Down in Atlanta, where we’ll be facing off against the Falcons this weekend, districts have explored giving students the day off to vote. And here in Philly, Central High School social studies teacher Thomas Quinn isn’t just teaching kids the value of voting—he’s on a mission to register every single eligible Philly student to do so through Philly Youth Vote

Quinn says he and his colleagues were particularly busy over the summer: At the past few school board meetings, students, teachers, and organization members have come with impassioned requests to implement a voter registration policy in all high schools. The board responded favorably, organizing a professional development day and partner fair, which Quinn co-facilitated with the Office of Curriculum and Instruction, Draw the Lines PA, Next Gen PA, Vote that Jawn, and the City Commissioners’ Office. 

“We drew 53 teachers from 33 schools, and 17 partnering organizations,” Quinn shares. Every teacher present, he says, walked out with more than enough registration forms for every student turning 18 this year! “We have just [a few weeks] before the October 7th registration deadline, so we’re all ready to get started!” Students and educators can get more details on getting their school involved here.

According to Quinn, the Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing September 24th as National Voter Registration Day; many schools will hold special programs on that day. “The board has been very supportive of what we’re asking,” says Quinn. Now, Quinn and supporters want the Board to go one step further and implement a permanent policy that encourages a year-round effort to engage students in the electoral process. They are bringing their efforts to the board meeting on September 19th. (Check out their testimonials here.)

And get this: Commissioner Al Schmidt’s office sent Quinn data that shows a 157 percent increase in 18-year-old turnout, which is particularly cool because getting people to show up on Election Day is the hardest part, and the youth vote is showing the greatest gains of any age group in the city.

Personally, I’m a big fan of making Election Day a national holiday. And, just think: If every Eagles fan voted and got one unregistered buddy to register by checking out the info here, we could all be heard, loud and clear. Mummers gear optional.

Next week we’ll face off against Detroit, and I’ll tell you about some awesome local music programs—and why music is so meaningful to me.



Philadelphia

Eagles

Atlanta

Falcons

# of students

203,225

# of students

51,550

% graduated high school

69

% graduated high school

80

% population with a BA

26

% population with a BA

53

$ per pupil

15,000

$ per pupil

13,000

% students economically disadvantaged

73

% students economically disadvantaged

74

% students of color

86

% students of color

85

% teachers of color

34

% teachers of color

78

% students in charter schools

34

% students in charter schools

19

% English language learners

12

% English language learners

5


Philly Sources: All from School District of Philadelphia except % with a BA from here, and $ per pupil here.

Atlanta Sources: All from Atlanta Public Schools, except % with a BA from here.

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