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Kids Pick the President – Sunday, April 13


Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President campaign, a year-long initiative to build young citizens’ awareness of the election process and issues for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, continues this month with Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Election Issues ’08, the second of four specials, premiering Sunday, April 13, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). In this special, kids speak out on the campaign issues that affect their lives, including the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy, education, the environment, healthcare and immigration.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a kid voting for practice or an adult voting for real,” said Ellerbee. “What really matters is that the stakes today are higher than ever before. When it comes to voting, the more you know, the better off you are and so is your country.”

Following Election Issues ’08, Nick’s Kids Pick the President campaign will continue throughout the year, airing two additional specials. Tails from the Trail, which premieres in August, will feature stories from kids actively campaigning for specific candidates. In the final special, Kids Pick the President, which premieres in October, Ellerbee will take kids’ questions to the presidential candidates and then encourage kids to go online to www.nick.com/kpp and vote for the next U.S. President.

In Election Issues ’08, kids have conflicting views on the war in Iraq. Lydia says, “The next president should continue to support our troops in Iraq and to try to continue this stabilization of Iraq and creating a more democratic government,” while Ashley says, “We should get out of Iraq before things get even worse than they already are.”

Another important issue to kids is terrorism. Joe believes America needs “more border security on the ports of entry in our country through boats, ships, planes…a lot of boxes go unchecked that terrorists can use for bombs.” However, Mischa says, “The government should not be allowed to read your letters, wire tap your conversations or collect any personal information.”

Education concerns kids because they are directly affected by this issue, especially the No Child Left Behind Act. Tiffany, from Oakland, Calif., attends Caslemount High School, which the government considers to be a “failing school” due to students’ poor tests scores. “The education I’m getting right now is how to take a test,” Tiffany says. “I want to learn something else.” Adrienne believes “testing is not a good way to see how a child is learning because not all children are really good test takers.”

With eight million kids in the U.S. living without health insurance, health care has emerged as one of the main issues facing presidential candidates this year. And it’s not just kids’ health at stake. Tasha’s mother has asthma, an enlarged heart, and no health insurance. Tasha says she worries every day that her mother “is just gonna collapse from her heart.” Zach believes “healthcare should be the government’s responsibility. I think that if you’re an American citizen that healthcare should be free.” But Christine thinks “the government’s involvement with health care should be limited” and that universal health care is not the way to approach this issue.

As prices on gas, heating oil and food continue to rise, and as some parents are losing their jobs and unable to meet their housing costs, kids are affected. Eyke says, “The rich can afford a yacht, the rich can afford to buy stock on Wall Street but, frankly, the regular American is having a tough time paying for their health care, they’re having a tough time paying their rent and that’s not right.” Alex has another take on the issue. “Instead of using the hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror, maybe we should really use it on things we really need here.”

About immigration, Vika says, “I understand why the fence between Mexico and the U.S. is being built, but I don’t think that it should be there. I feel like it’s creating a barrier — it’s actually creating a physical barrier between Mexico and the U.S. and it’s making tensions rise and it really just shows our distrust of Mexico.” But Michele says, “They come here for a better life; they should be able to get a better life.”

Nickelodeon’s campaign includes four Kids Pick the President television specials created and produced by the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, and a special online election website http://www.nick.com/kpp/. The website features explanations of the election process, photographs and information about each candidate and their issues, as well as a calendar of the major election events. In January, the first campaign special, The Kids’ Primary — explained how presidents are elected in the United States, the primary system, the current candidates, and what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican. After the special, kids were encouraged to go online and vote in Nickelodeon’s first ever kids’ primary, at www.nick.com/kpp. In the election, kids chose Barack Obama and John McCain.

The campaign specials will also air on Cable in the Classroom (schedule will be announced), which airs Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:00 a.m. (ET/PT). Cable in the Classroom provides schools with commercial-free educational television programming. To complement the Kids Pick the President campaign, supplementary materials are available as resources for teachers at http://teachers.nick.com.

Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is now in its 18th year, and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Over the years, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations and numerous Emmy wins. Most recently, in 2007, “Private Worlds: Kids and Autism” won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 1994, the entire series, Nick News, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 1998, “What Are You Staring At?” a program about kids with physical disabilities, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 2002, “Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan,” won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. In 2004, two Nick News Specials, “The Courage to Live: Kids, South Africa and AIDS” and “There’s No Place Like Home,” a special about homeless kids in America, were both nominated for the Outstanding Children’s Programming Emmy. In 2005, it won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming for its show, “From the Holocaust to the Sudan.” Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is also the recipient of three Peabody Awards, including a personal award given to Ellerbee for her coverage for kids of the President Clinton investigation. The series has also received two Columbia duPont Awards.

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