Press Release

Rock the Vote Launches Democracy Class to Educate High School Students on the Importance of Voting and to Register Them to Vote

Through a Coalition of 100 Organizations and School Districts, Democracy Class will be Taught in 2,000 Schools across the Country This Week

Washington, DC - September 17, 2018

With just seven weeks until the midterm elections, Rock the Vote, the 28-year-old nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging and building the political power of young people, is launching Democracy Class.

Beginning today, Constitution Day, Democracy Class will be taught in over 2,000 schools across the country. Democracy Class is a high school curriculum on the history and importance of voting that culminates in registering and pre-registering students to vote.

“It’s our collective responsibility to provide young people with the civics education they need and deserve to actively participate in our democracy. Rock the Vote is thrilled to be launching Democracy Class, because that’s exactly what it does. With the support of more than 100 partners and school districts we are meeting students where they are and will ultimately engage hundreds of thousands of students in our Democracy this election cycle and beyond.” Carolyn DeWitt, President and Executive Director of Rock the Vote, said. “Democracy Class is just the beginning, as we work to create a movement of directly engaging youth in civic education.”

Rock the Vote partnered with Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), to update and expand the Democracy Class curriculum, which was originally created in 2010. Rock the Vote is also working with the SPLC to mobilize its network of more than 400,000 teachers. The new curriculum includes additional lessons that cover the subjects of modern-day voting rights, how local elections relate to issues impacting their community, and the importance of civic participation.

“When you merge the identities of ‘Student’ and ‘Voter,’ you have a recipe for transformative change,” said Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance. “Young people have always led the way to a more democratic and more inclusive future, and this moment is no different. Our hope is that Democracy Class will supplement the activism we are seeing from students across the country, and specifically that students will find a way to channel their passion by voting in November and in every election thereafter. We have to, and we will, challenge hate and extremism with more education and more civic engagement.”

The Democracy Class initiative is being sponsored by American Eagle.

“American Eagle is dedicated to empowering our nation’s youth to have a voice through our continued partnership with Rock the Vote,” said Chad Kessler, American Eagle Global Brand President. “Our customers represent the future of our country and we are proud to support voter education and registration in schools across the U.S.”

Throughout the country, teachers are reporting that students are more engaged than ever. Through their protests, marches, and walkouts, students have shown they are ready and excited to get involved in the democratic process and shape the future of our democracy. However, voter participation among young people is historically the lowest of any age group—and the most common reason that young people don’t register or vote is that they don’t know how. The goal of Democracy Class is to change that; by providing students the knowledge they need to become active participants in our elections and democracy.

Over 100 organizations and school districts, including Los Angeles Unified School District and the School District of Philadelphia, are integrating Democracy Class into their classrooms during the week of September 17, beginning with Constitution Day and leading up to National Voter Registration Day.

For more information on the Democracy Class and to view the curriculum, visit www.democracyclass.org.

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About Rock the Vote Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people. For nearly 30 years, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the way we use culture, music, art and technology to engage young people in politics, registering and turning out millions of young voters. During the last seven Presidential elections, Rock the Vote and its partners coordinated the largest voter registration drives for young people that added nearly 8 million new voters to the rolls and consistently turns out its voters more than 30 points above the national youth average. Rock the Vote fights for voting rights to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise their right to vote and promotes civic education to ensure young voters to have the resources and information they need to participate in our civic process. Learn more at rockthevote.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @rockthevote.

About American Eagle Since 1977, American Eagle has offered an assortment of specialty apparel and accessories for men and women that enables self-expression and empowers our customers to celebrate their individuality. The brand has broadened its leadership in jeans by producing innovative fabric with options for all styles and fits for all at a value. We aren’t just passionate about making great clothing, we’re passionate about making real connections with the people who wear them. Visit www.ae.com to find your perfect pair of #AEJeans.

About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle Outfitters® and Aerie® brands. The company operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 25 countries. For more information, please visit www.ae.com.

About Teaching Tolerance The Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom. Teaching Tolerance produces an array of anti-bias resources that we distribute, free of charge, to educators across the country – award-winning classroom documentaries, lesson plans, curricula, Teaching Tolerance magazine, and more.

Contacts:
Andrew Feldman, andrew@feldmanstrategies.com, 781-820-6650 (c)