Student Voices: Election 2020


Never has there been a more important time for young people to connect across distance and divides, engage with diverse perspectives, and understand the key issues shaping an election. We know that young people want to be part of the national conversation and are eager to learn about and discuss current issues and the world around them. Close Up’s Student Voices program provides middle and high school students with the exciting opportunity to talk with other students from across the country and more!

Through a series of four online discussions designed and facilitated by Close Up instructors, students will engage with diverse peers nationwide and learn about key election issues, the presidential and congressional races, and each party’s platform. Our curriculum specialists will also provide teachers with a virtual professional development training session and ready-to-use classroom resources to support continued student discussion and understanding of the upcoming election.




Student Sessions

During four online sessions led by Close Up instructors, students will meet, interact, and deliberate with a diverse group of peers from other parts of the country. Each 45-minute session will encourage students to consider multiple perspectives and deepen their understanding of how public policies affect local communities. Students will examine three major election issues, discuss which party and which candidate(s) best represent their opinions on the issues, decide how important a candidate’s views on the issues are when deciding who to vote for, and develop their own ideas of how to best address the issues. 

  • Building Community: Close Up will facilitate dialogue between students from different backgrounds and schools to build a cohesive online community. 
  • Election Issue Discussion – Health Care and COVID-19: How can the government best combat the COVID-19 pandemic? Which health care reforms, if any, are needed?
  • Election Issue Discussion – The Economy: Which government policies would most effectively put Americans back to work and get the economy back on track?
  • Election Issue Discussion – Criminal Justice: How should the government address issues related to criminal justice in this country?


Resources for Teachers

To ensure that educators feel confident and prepared to support students both before and after the Close Up-led issue discussions, this program provides teachers with an invaluable professional development training session, as well as balanced, comprehensive resources to use in the classroom.

  • Professional Development: This 60-minute, on-demand training session will show teachers how to use Close Up’s nonpartisan techniques and materials to facilitate respectful classroom discussion of election issues.
  • Classroom Resources and Materials:  Teachers will receive six months of access to Controversial Issues in the News, Close Up’s digital library of issue discussions, lesson plans, activities, and assessments that take a measured, multipartisan look at many of the issues dominating the 2020 election.




Program Cost: $800 per classroom

Program Dates: Program start dates range from September 14 – October 9, 2020, and continue for 4 consecutive weeks.

There will be separate discussions for middle school students and for high school students. When educators sign up for the program, we will ask you to indicate your preferred time(s) of day so we can schedule your discussions with other classrooms.



Over 93% of students said Close Up’s virtual programs…

helped them understand the importance of using their voice to make change in their communities.