Rendell Center and NCC Challenge Area Elementary Students to Write Essays on How to Increase Voter Participation

By diprinziod | November 6, 2014

Through Nov. 11, The Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University and the National Constitution Center are accepting essays from 4th and 5th grade classrooms within the Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties). The essay question challenged students to address how they would increase voter participation, in particular by considering the following:

  • Should online voting be instituted?
  • Should an ID be required to vote?
  • Some countries have mandatory voting—should that be instituted in the U.S.?
  • Should we expand voting days or times?

The 10 finalists will receive classroom copies of the “We The Civics Kids” curriculum as well as a civics library for their school. Finalists also will be invited to present their essays to a panel of judges at the National Constitution Center on Dec. 18. The top classroom will be awarded a grand prize of $1,000, and three runner-up classes each will be awarded a prize of $500, to be used for a program that promotes civic learning and engagement in the student body.

Serving as judges are former Gov. Rendell; Judge Rendell; Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center; and Dr. Barbara Nodine, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Arcadia.

For more information, contact Beth Specker, director of Education Initiatives for Arcadia University’s School of Continuing Studies and executive director of The Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University (484-804-2328,

About the Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University

The mission of the Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics at Arcadia University is to promote civics education and responsible citizenship engagement. To do this, the Rendell Center offers opportunities to develop the knowledge, practices, and characteristics of an engaged citizenship. These opportunities are extended to educators, the Arcadia Campus, and the community at large, and students of all levels in throughout the region.

The Rendell Center is a collaborative effort between the National Constitution Center (NCC) and Arcadia University. Within Arcadia University, the School of Continuing Studies, the School of Education, and the Department of Historical and Political Studies serve as a multidisciplinary team, bringing distinctive resources to the Rendell Center:

  • Arcadia University provides hands-on professional development opportunities for educators, substantive expertise in American history and politics, and local/global intellectual connections.
  • The National Constitution Center provides extensive historical and constitutional resources and experience in promoting civic learning.