Austin, Texas Schools Win National Award for Students' Leadership Initiatives in Historic Election

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American Association of School Administrators Presents Award on National Stage in San Francisco; 40,000 Austin Students Participated in National Student Mock Election co-sponsored by Pearson

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They were too young to vote in the real thing, but the Austin, Texas students who took part in the National Student Mock Election made some history of their own Friday by winning a national award.

In San Francisco at the National Conference on Education, Austin ISD earned the "Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education" award from the American Association of School Administrators. More than 40,000 Austin ISD students from 78 schools took part in the Mock Election, co-sponsored by the Pearson Foundation.

"The Pearson Foundation and all of our colleagues at Pearson congratulate Austin Independent School district on this well-deserved award. As sponsors of the National Student Mock Election, our goal was to help engage as many students as possible in the election process," said Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation. "The Austin school district indeed set a model for the rest of the nation in building awareness of the importance of every single vote in sustaining our democracy."

More than five million ballots were cast nationally in the National Student/Parent Mock Election, and students overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama, who received 67% of the vote. The average voter turnout among Austin Independent School District students was 61 percent.

More than 7,000 school administrators from around the country were in attendance at the national conference when Austin ISD was honored Friday afternoon.

Gloria Kirshner, president of the National Student/Parent Mock Election said, "I join Pearson in commending Austin School District on this well-deserved award from AASA. Austin has set the standard for how our schools can educate students about the democratic process." She added, "It is only with the support of organizations like AASA, Pearson and our other partners that the National Student Parent Mock Election is able to continue its work as the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter education project."

Austin ISD won the award after an aggressive effort, led by the social studies department, to engage students in the Mock Election. The effort included a field trip to the state Capitol for hundreds of high school seniors, where they viewed the Texas Young Lawyers Association's presentation of "Vote America," a documentary about the history of the voting rights struggle among minority groups. Students also took part in a mock voter registration process, and they took on the roles of election officials, clerks and judges. The students expanded their work to include voter outreach, visiting classrooms and handing out election materials.

Joe Ramirez, social studies administrative supervisor at Austin ISD, and Terry Loessin, the social studies curriculum specialist, accepted the award on behalf of the school district.

Student mock voters across America identified the troubled economy, the war in Iraq, and global climate change/the environment as the top priorities for the Obama administration, with other ballot issues including national security, high cost of energy, education, health care, and the war in Afghanistan.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation's oldest, largest and most successful voter-education project, dating from 1980. Since the first Mock Election in 1980, more than 50 million young voters have cast their ballots and, in the process, discovered what it means to be an American citizen and the value of citizenship.

Partners for the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election include the Pearson Foundation, USA Today, the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, Declare Yourself, Strong American Schools, School Perceptions, Google, BrainPOP, the National PTA, the National School Boards Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Student Councils, and the Council of the Great City Schools.

(For more information, contact Terry Abbott, Drive West Communication 281-733-9100)

About Pearson and Texas

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the world's leading education publisher, has been providing education materials to Texas schools as far back as the 1800s. You may know us individually as Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, SuccessMaker, NovaNet, PowerSchool, Educational Measurement, Educational Assessment, SuccessNet, Learning Teams, and so many more - names in the world of education that are recognized and respected across the State and the globe. In fact, most teachers in Texas have learned their profession by studying with Pearson's Merrill or Allyn & Bacon textbooks, and many have benefited from our professional development programs. We provide education and testing materials from birth through professional learning as well as the school systems that maintain student information data for thousands of schools. Our business offices are located in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, but our 2,000 Pearson people are living and working in every school district across the State. Whether in reading, language arts, science, math, social studies, music, English as a second language, foreign languages, or AP courses, hundreds of thousands of Texas's preK through college students are learning with our Pearson products every day. For more information, go to http://www.pearsonschool.com. In addition to Education, Pearson's other major businesses include The Financial Times Group and The Penguin Group, http://www.pearson.com.

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Kate Miller
Pearson
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