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School’s Out Tomorrow

So Student Ambassadors Are Powering Up at Polling Places with the Committee of Seventy. What’s That About?

By Elena Tomlinson 

At Mastery Lenfest school, Joe Bradley designs curriculum with a clear goal: register students to vote and get them to the polls. For Bradley, Government and Economics Content Lead, holding students accountable means making voter registration a graded homework assignment — and encouraging other Mastery Lenfest teachers to do the same. He also teams up with a venerable Philly nonprofit to wake his students up to the power they have, and how to wield it.

Ultimately, Bradley says, his students are free to choose whether or not he turns in their voter registration form when they turn 18. Some choose not to register, most commonly for religious or citizenship reasons. But for the majority who allow Bradley to turn in their voter registration, all he can hope is that they show up to the polls. “As much as I push it,” Bradley explains, “if it’s raining, then they might not go out and vote.” Tomorrow’s predicted rain may put Bradley’s efforts to the test!

But Bradley works in optimism, and he is not alone. At the Mastery schools, the past few years have seen great increases in parent and faculty participation toward this mission.