Teaching Students About the 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election


The Chicago Mayoral Election of 2019 was a historic event that saw the rise of Lori Lightfoot as the city’s 56th mayor. Not only was she the first African-American woman to hold the position, but she is also the first openly gay mayor of Chicago. As educators, it is crucial to teach students about this pivotal election and its significance. This article will discuss how to effectively educate students about the 2019 Chicago mayoral election and how it has impacted local politics.

Importance of Civic Education:

Civic education plays a significant role in fostering informed and responsible citizens who can contribute positively to their communities. Teaching students about local politics, specifically elections, helps build essential life-long learning skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication. Furthermore, it builds an understanding of governance structures and democratic processes.

Teaching Methods:

1. Start with Historical Context: Begin by discussing historical milestones in Chicago politics and how these events shaped today’s climate. For instance, talk about key figures such as Jane Byrne (the first female mayor) or Harold Washington (the first African-American mayor), highlighting how their leadership paved the way for future political candidates like Lori Lightfoot.

2. Present Relevant Data: Share a summary of crucial data points from the election – voter turnout, candidate platforms, campaign contributions, etc. Analyze these numbers together with your students to foster deeper understanding of constituent priorities and political strategy.

3. Debate Discussions: Encourage your students to express their opinions or beliefs on topics related to the election by organizing classroom debates. This approach not only develops their critical thinking skills but also teaches respect for diverse perspectives.

4. Guest Speakers: Invite local experts or individuals who were involved in the campaign process to speak about their experiences firsthand, providing further depth to your lessons.

5. Field Trips: Take students to relevant sites within the city to deepen their understanding of the election, such as the Chicago Board of Elections, campaign headquarters, and election night watch party locations.

6. Multimedia Approach: Make use of documentaries, news clips, podcasts, and other multimedia resources that focus on the Chicago mayoral election to engage your students in different ways.

7. Encourage Community Involvement: Reach out to local political organizations or advocacy groups and participate in initiatives that help your students engage with their communities. These experiences not only enrich your lessons but also foster more profound commitments to civic responsibility.


Teaching students about historical events such as the Chicago Mayoral Election of 2019 can be a powerful educational experience. Through various teaching methods, students learn about the significance of civic participation and gain an appreciation for the democratic process. As our societies continue to grow and evolve, it is essential to cultivate informed and responsible citizens who are equipped to contribute positively to their local communities.

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