CHICAGO — Chicago is turning to its young people to help share ideas to improve city laws and is offering a $1,000 scholarship to the best ones.
Students from four Chicago Public Schools high schools are participating in the first round of the program, called Envision Chicago, including Marine Leadership Academy at Ames, Chicago Excel Academy of Roseland, Taft High School and Lake View High School.
Envision Chicago will introduce students to Chicago's laws through an open data edition of the municipal code, chicagocode.org, and allow them to offer ideas to change laws they deem outdated or ineffective.
The four aldermen whose schools are represented in the inaugural program are also participating: Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st).
The ideas the students come up with will be submitted to a selection committee that includes the aldermen, the City Clerk and The OpenGov Foundation, a partner on the project.
“I cannot wait to see the bright future students envision, and to watch those ideas become real policy proposals," said Seamus Kraft, executive director of The OpenGov Foundation. "This is a fantastic model of modern municipal government that we hope to bring to all 50 wards, and that every city should follow."
The student behind the most promising idea from each school will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
“We are giving students direct access to the Chicago City Council because learning about our elected officials and how government works is the best way to affect positive change and innovative policy in our City," Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza said.
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