Original Work Set-Up and Completion Summary

Date/s: I worked on my podcast from November 6 to December 29.

Materials: To create my podcast, I used a YETI Blue microphone and Garageband software. My research came from studies about millennials, articles regarding the topics I discussed, as well as information from my mentor.

Objective/Purpose: The purpose of my podcast, Meet the Millennials, was to analyze current events and discussions in American politics and policy. Along with providing an analysis, I also used the podcast to provide and examine possible policy situations. My objective with the analysis and solutions was to give the millennial generation a stronger voice in public policy conversations.

Description of Process: I found topic ideas for my original work project by following issues in the news and discussing policy issues with my mentor. Once I decided on an issue to focus on for an episode, I would research the facts surrounding the issue and how it affected millennials. After conducting research through secondary sources, I would discuss the issue with my mentor. She not only provided me with more facts regarding the topic, but she also helped me consider different viewpoints and viable policy options.

Utilization of Higher-Level Thinking Skills: I used analysis at a high level of thinking as I questioned why millennials responded to different political and policy efforts. As I questioned the generation’s political actions, I drew conclusions for their responses by finding similarities between their opinions on education policy and how they voted in the recent presidential primary and general election. After I drew conclusions regarding the general political ideologies of millennials, I evaluated the situations created by their actions. I used the skill of evaluation as I compared historic economic and political trends to millennial trends. By comparing history to the current day, I assessed whether or not the political actions and policy preferences of millennials was creating a stable or unstable economy for the future. I synthesized these evaluations to further achieve my objectives. After judging the situations that are being created by millennials, I produced possible policy options and solutions. As I developed my scripts, I built arguments for whether or not my hypothesized solutions would be viable. By using higher-level thinking skills of analysis, evaluation, and synthesis, I gathered well-rounded information regarding policy and millennials, while also learning how to infer how policies can be changed and improved.

Results: I did not set out to discover anything within political science studies. However, my podcast was instead intended to help me learn how to account for a diverse generation in reasonable policy options. My results in this are described in both episodes of my podcast, in which I describe my proposed solutions. In my episode regarding the future of the Democratic party, I suggested that party members and elected officials must decide whether or not they will include millennials in their party, or if they will continue to be the party of the working class. I came to this result after the general presidential election, as well as after reading excerpts from Thomas Frank’s book Listen Liberal. For the purpose of my podcast, I assumed the party would pivot towards millennials. Given their losses this November, I proposed the idea that they should reach out towards younger voters more, especially online. In my education policy episode, I suggested that teacher salaries should be raised based on performance instead of seniority, and that college students with education majors should receive scholarships similar to STEM students. I came to this result after analyzing how millennials feel neglected by the public school system. This feeling of neglect has caused millennials to avoid teaching positions, while also enrolling their children in charter schools.

Conclusions/Interpretations: Through my research regarding the future of the Democratic party and public school finance, I came to conclusions stating that to properly account for millennials, reform is necessary. Currently, the Republican party does not significantly adhere to millennial values, leaving the Democratic party to accept millennials. However, throughout the presidential primary, this revealed a major problem. I concluded that millennials care more about social issues than economic issues. Given their progressive stance on social issues, as the party platform tried to adhere to the generational wants, working class economic democrats felt abandoned and isolated. This lead me to believe that the Democratic party needs to decide which demographic they want to represent, and if it happens to be millennials, then they need to become a progressive social party. Along with this, from my survey and research, I concluded that millennials are often apathetic or unwary of their government. To fully court the millennial demographic, I now believe that the party must connect with young voters and establish a trust in government. Regarding education policy, my research had common themes of low school budgets and post-graduate millennials avoiding public schools in any way possible. These themes lead me to infer that because of underfunded school finance, millennials have become disenfranchised with public school systems. I concluded that the status quo needs to change. This is because retiring teachers are without a sufficient amount of millennial replacements, and students who do not have the financial means of attending a charter or private school will receive even less funded educations. I came to the conclusion that public schools need to be refinanced with a focus on teaching. Public opinion holds that well paid teachers often perform better than under paid teachers. This lead me to conclude that more millennial parents would enroll children in public schools instead of applying for vouchers if they believed their children would have talented teachers. Along with this, I concluded that more millennials would become teachers if they were economically encouraged.

Application/Meaning: My podcast regarding millennials in politics was primarily a foundation for later research. As I want to continue researching and studying how the young generation impacts public policy, this project helped me understand the different actions and opinions throughout the generation. Additionally, as I conducted research and constructed the script for my education policy episode, I grew intrigued by the issues and policy actions surrounding school finance. This served as foundational research for me, given that it opened a door for further research and creation, especially if I choose for my final product to center around education policy. My original podcast also beneficially contributes to my community. As the voice of millennials is often left out of political discussions, I used my original work to publically and confidently share millennial opinions and how the government could account for them. By sharing millennial beliefs and policy options, I believe that my original work serves the community by raising attention to a generation that is not given equal consideration from legislators.

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