EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 5, 2012

College debt, jobs, taxes on young voters' minds


Many of the students are looking at the election from a unique position, looking four years into the future and seeing which candidates will provide a better landscape for students once they graduate college.

“Getting a job after college is one of the biggest issues we are facing,” said senior Adam Ladd. “Also debt from college is on the mind of every student who wants to pursue a college education. There isn’t a strong enough system in place to effectively deal with that debt when leaving college and that will play into young voters’ decisions.”

For Haverhill High junior Colin Fitzpatrick, taxes are an issue that comes to the forefront.

“I’d like to see taxes distributed evenly,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’d like to see a stronger middle class start to develop and stray away from the policies that got us into this recession.”

As the election approaches, teachers are ensuring that students have the necessary information needed to form their own opinions.

“We are having them watch the debates,” said Mary Robb, who teaches two sections of the course at Andover High School. “We are having them read news articles about the candidates, we are discussing political philosophy. The purpose is to develop the skills and the tools that they need to be informed and active citizens.”

One of the challenges teachers face when discussing political issues with students is ensuring that their own political views aren’t apparent to the student. Robb acknowledged that she bites her tongue a lot, but will also specifically take the opposite side of an issue when a conversation is overwhelmingly leaning in one direction.

“In today’s political climate there is such extremes where neither side can see any of the positives that the other side has,” said Robb. “That’s really frustrating and it really limits our ability to resolve issues we have as a nation. If you turn off your ears and don’t listen to the other side you may be missing something valuable.”

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