1984: Kids Are Not All That Excited About Being President

Associated Press

Middletown, Conn.–Boys are more interested than girls in becoming president of the United States, but few students of either sex say they would want the job, according to a Weekly Reader survey.

The publication’s first citizenship survey, conducted at the end of January, also found that children believe government’s most important job is to prevent war.

The responses from about 625,000 children across the country from second grade through junior high show students have a “positive but realistic” view of government, said Lynell Johnson, editorial director of the periodical published by Xerox Education Publications.

“They don’t see government as a monster or as repressive, but they also don’t see it as a paragon of virtue,” he said. “The survey also gives an indication that kids take their responsibility as citizens and their right to free speech quite seriously.”

Among junior high students, 9 percent of the boys said they wanted to become president “a lot” and 65 percent said they weren’t interested, while 7 percent of the girls said they wanted to become president and 65 percent said they didn’t.

From the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), Wednesday, July 25, 1984.
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