Berkeley Dual-Immersion Middle School Talks About Election 2020

Spanish-language history students at Longfellow Arts and Technology Middle School. (Courtesy of Mary Patterson)

Lee este artículo en español.

This is part four of our Election 2020 student content blog series. See part one, part two and part three.

KQED Education asked middle and high school students from all around the country to submit audio or video commentaries about election issues that matter most to them. The Let’s Talk About Election 2020 Youth Media Challenge received over 500 submissions so far, and many of them in Spanish! It’s no surprise that young people are interested in climate change, gun legislation, and college affordability. The students from Longfellow Arts and Technology Middle School in Berkeley, CA—a dual-immersion program—submitted commentaries on a vast array of topics that span from female representation in government to police brutality. See what these 8th graders have to say.

Nicholas S. created this thoughtful piece on an issue that’s been dominating the headlines in recent months -- police brutality.
Police Brutality by Nicholas S.

Lol-Be C. noticed that representation in government is not equitable according to gender lines and wrote this insightful commentary.
Female Representation in Government

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While most teens don’t have to worry about where they get their medical care, Giselle P. questions why it’s so difficult for some Americans to access the healthcare they need.
Medical Care Should Not Depend on Money

From women’s rights to Black Lives Matter to suicide prevention, the students at Longfellow Arts and Technology Middle School have tons to say about election issues that are important to them.

Check out the rest of the commentaries here!

Mary Patterson is the 8th grade Spanish-language history teacher at Longfellow who guided students through the project.

“Just having an end product that would have a public audience made it feel really different for me as a teacher and for the kids. People don’t ask kids what they have to say and they have a lot to say. They get overlooked a lot because they don’t vote, but they will suffer from negative consequences even more than voting adults.”

Patterson was interested to see how much the students learned about the issues they independently researched and commented on.

“I didn’t teach them anything about the issues... My hands were full trying to teach them the more technical parts… What I loved was hearing their voices.”

Overall, she was appreciative of the space KQED created for youth voice, not only in English but in Spanish as well.

“I think for these kids, it validated the extra work they are doing. They had to work twice as hard to produce this bilingual video. Sometimes at school, we talk about orgulloso de ser bilingue, and this project really helped students feel that.”