Congressional challenger Ro Khanna looks to the youth to build his campaign

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Congressional challenger Ro Khanna looks to the youth to build his campaign

Anushka Tyagi

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna’s fellowship began with five eager high school students wanting to be a part of politics. As the fellowship gained popularity, more students were informed of ways they can make a mark in the foundation of their future. As of September, 55 students are involved. Going from five to 55 in nine months is not an easy feat, which begs the question: how was Ro Khanna able to gain such a large amount of youth support in a meager nine months?

The fellowship that Khanna created has brought a great amount of attention to teenagers in the Bay Area. His focus on introducing STEM in schools and dealing with teacher tenure touches on the issues that students are surrounded by on a day to day basis. By directly having them involved in his campaign, he’s able to make his mark on this specific group of people.

1. The Ro Khanna fellowship

In January, five fresh faces started the youth fellowship of the Khanna campaign. As of September, over 100 high school students have joined and become the “fellows” of Khanna’s campaign. Teenagers often are not interested in politics, and that has a lot to do with politicians who talk about them, not to them. The students have become a vessel for Khanna to spread his ideas to young minds. Phone banking and canvassing has had Khanna creating a “mission” that could eventually lead him to being elected. Despite lacking the ability to vote, these students have been given the chance to voice their opinion, making Ro Khanna more appealing to students because he is willing to involve them. Student support can eventually be the link to parental support.

2. Introduction of STEM

The choice of classes at MVHS is just as big of a deal as it is for any high school student. The introduction of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) in schools increases the student involvement in these fields. Khanna has chosen to target education, which has interested students into taking Khanna’s reforms into consideration. Khanna is running on the argument that introducing classes involving coding in various languages, and more background knowledge in these fields will help students graduate with a more applicable degree in the highly developing tech world. As STEM becomes more popular with teenagers living in the Silicon Valley, it creates an incentive for them to stay on top of topics that are being introduced at their school. This creates another form of awareness for Khanna himself.

3. Teacher Tenure

Teachers play a major role in the learning and success of students and they can often make or break their future. A 2013 study conducted by Harvard professors Raj Chetty and Thomas Kane finds that one year with an incompetent teacher can cost a student $1.4 million in lifetime earnings. Of 399 El Estoque online survey respondents, 86 percent believe that there is a correlation between teacher tenure and incompetent tenured teachers on campus. Khanna reforms stated that he wants to pay good teachers more money, therefore giving an incentive for teachers to well educate their pupils. According to Khanna, teachers should inspire students to be critical about the world around them. Ineffective teaching is an unaddressed problem at MVHS and Khanna seems to be providing a possible solution in the eyes of aspiring students.

What makes Ro Khanna a widely accepted politician among the students? His focus on the student body and his encouragement of their involvement in politics. Attracting teenagers in an area where many are not particularly interested creates a link to the support that does count; the adults. Being around student influence, the adults would be introduced to the views students have towards him. With these specific key ideas, Khanna’s decision to target the issues in schools has continued to build his name in this youth movement.