Original URL: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/286/metro/Students_consider_the_issues_intend_to_be_heard_in_Nov_+.shtml

Students consider the issues, intend to be heard in Nov.

By Laura Pappano,  Boston Globe 10/13/2001

Gubernatorial candidates Shannon O'Brien and Mitt Romney may think they know what issues matter most to voters. But students - some able to vote - are using their own list of concerns to judge the candidates.

Franco Valverde, 18, senior class president at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, said many in his school are worried about the fate of bilingual education. ''We have ESL classes,'' said registered voter Valverve, referring to students learning English as a second language. ''Romney wants to get rid of bilingual ed.''

But classmate Carvelle Brown, 17, likes Romney. ''He's brought up the issue of bringing business back to Massachusetts,'' Brown said. ''That is something we want.''

Teacher Gregory Washington tries to make students aware of the power of their voice and their vote. His message: ''You have to know who to complain to,'' he said.

Washington's students are among the 1,000 participating in several debates at the Kennedy Library that have students questioning prominent Democrats and Republicans standing in for O'Brien and Romney. On Wednesday and Thursday
former Swift aide Peter Forman, Senator Dianne Wilkerson, a Boston Democrat, Republican Evan Slavin, and Representative Michael E. Festa, Democrat of Melrose, will role play.

Nina Tisch, educational specialist at the Kennedy Library, said the hope is that having students formulate questions will make them aware of which issues they care most about.

Sarah Mathews, 16, a junior at Plymouth South High School who has volunteered to help with Senator John F. Kerry's reelection campaign, said she cares most about education and the economy. ''I don't want to graduate from college and go
out into an economy where I don't have a job,'' said Mathews, who favors O'Brien.

Classmate Matt Hunnefeld, 17, said he's leaning toward Romney, but isn't sure. ''Both of them aren't speaking their opinion,'' he said. ''They are just saying what they need to say to get elected.''

(The Kennedy Library also is helping tabulate results for a Nov. 1 mock election. Check out www.nationalmockelection.com.)


This story ran on page B15 of the Boston Globe on 10/13/2001. Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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