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The Founders of NSPME

Rooted in Education: the Founding of the National Student/Parent Mock Election


Edward Stanley

Gloria Kirshner and Edward Stanley made a prolific pair in the 1960s: the two created “Exploring” on NBC, a nationwide broadcast of elementary school curriculum in language arts, social studies, math and science.

“Exploring” was a hit: over 600,000 teachers asked for the series’ Teachers Guide. Stanley, Director of Public Affairs for NBC, and Kirshner, an educational consultant, knew they had something substantial.

But the two quickly noticed that social studies teachers, especially those attempting to teach civics and government, were direly unprepared. In fact, coaches and math teachers were taking on civics courses at the middle and high school levels.

Kirshner and Stanley both realized these poorly prepared children – and their children’s children -- would soon determine the destiny of the world’s longest lasting democracy. Their inferior education about democracy could very well threaten our political system’s integrity.

“Enlighten the people generally,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “and tyranny and oppression of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” Stanley and Kirshner were inspired by this quote and spent 10 years seeking a solution.

Eventually, the two connected with such legendary education leaders as Dr. Benjamin Bloom, Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg, and Dr. Arthur W. Foshay. The experts helped Kirshner and Stanley develop a project titled the NBC Parent Participation TV Workshop Project.

The first-ever National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) in 1980, as part of this project, had students and parents in 30 states casting votes.

By 1984, 2 million were participating; by 1988, 5 million. In 2014, a midterm election year, the NSPME expects to involve 1-2 million and by 2016 participation is expected to reach 5 million people.

Help Support Democracy

Our nonprofit organization is seeking to improve and expand outreach on behalf of democracy. Your donation will be used to expand the NSPME’s outreach for generations to come. Please join our effort; a donation in any amount is welcome!

National Parent / Student Mock Election organition is a 501(c)3 IRS tax-exempt, charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

"For the first time in my life, I felt I actually had a 'say' in the political world."

“This project immersed the students in the election/voting process, engaging them through research, creativity and expression.”