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PBS Offers Students, Teachers and Parents Election Resources to Help Demonstrate the Importance of Voting
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Alexandria, Va. - September 16, 2004 - To help engage the nation's classrooms in the political process, PBS and local PBS stations are offering an array of online and on-air content to help turn today's students into tomorrow's voters while also addressing the significant problems of low voter turn-out and civic participation by American youth.

PBS' By The People: Election 2004 initiative provides freely available state-of-the-art materials to guide students, teachers and parents through the upcoming presidential election, as well as convey the importance of civic involvement at the local, state and national levels. Featured on PBS' award-winning Web site, the By the People online area is available at

"These educational resources, which are available both from PBS and local PBS stations, will help inspire students to take an active role in civic participation, whether it's in their community or at a national level," said Mary Kadera, director, PBS Digital Education.

PBS' in-depth election materials include a student-friendly calendar of events, political glossary, campaign highlights, local ballot information, candidate voting records, issue analysis and much more. The site also includes easy access to local PBS station Web sites for locally relevant election resources, and access to all of the PBS on-air programs showcasing election coverage, including FRONTLINE, THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER, NOW WITH BILL MOYERS, RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, TAVIS SMILEY, TUCKER CARLSON UNFILTERED, WALL $TREET WEEK WITH FORTUNE, WASHINGTON WEEK and WIDE ANGLE.

The following is a sampling of the available election resources:

For Kids and Parents (
PBS KIDS Democracy Project: Designed for elementary school students and their parents, this section consists of 15 standards-based lesson plans centering around three interactive features: "Inside the Voting Booth," which illustrates the importance of voting; "President for a Day," which allows the user to become a "virtual president"; and "How Does the Government Affect Me?," which helps show students the ways state, local and federal governments play a role in their day-to-day lives.

For Educators (
The "Teacher" area: This collection of nearly 40 election-related teacher lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students is correlated to state and national standards for civics, history, math and language arts.

A variety of topics is covered in this area including political advertising, the Electoral College, polling, political satire, voting rights, the primary system and party platforms.

ZOOM is showing kids they can make a difference in the 2004 elections with ZOOMout the Vote, a nationwide "by kids, for the people" election campaign. Kids can voice their opinions on important issues through interactive polls, cast their votes on November 2 in a kids-only mock election, and much more. A ZOOMout the Vote guidebook is also available online and in print, featuring steps kids can take to get involved in civic action. Targeted to six- to twelve-year-olds, ZOOMout the Vote is designed to give kids the tools they need to get involved in and excited about the democratic process.

NewsHour Extra (
NewsHour Extra is working with the winners of the National Forensic League's Lincoln-Douglas debates to analyze the upcoming presidential debates the first of which will be moderated by Jim Lehrer. These high school debating champions will judge President Bush and Senator Kerry exactly as they themselves would be judged, and then offer performance advice as if the teens were the candidates' debating coaches. Teachers will find lesson plans incorporating the latest developments from the campaign trail, and students can join current events youth circles where they can discuss the issues with peers from around the country.

P.O.V. (
An extension of PBS' award-winning documentary series, this site features an area where viewers can submit original public service announcements about voting and post their favorite videos online. A panel of judges will choose the best "Why Vote?" commercials, which will be featured on the P.O.V. Web site. Also available are lesson plans for teachers, designed to aid them in working with students to make public service announcements about voting, important issues and general teenager concerns.

As Americans prepare for the upcoming elections, FRONTLINE/World has launched an online project designed to give voters an international perspective on the 2004 presidential race. Featuring new Web-exclusive reports each Tuesday through the November 2 election, "Dispatches from a Small Planet: Election 2004" will include dispatches from such places as Belgium, Syria, Ukraine, Pakistan, East Africa, Germany, Belarus, the Dominican Republic and more, all designed to help students see how others in the world view the U.S. election.

About PBS
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Kevin Dando, PBS

Tia Gordon, PBS