The Common Core and Politics are Not Obscures
Politicians use lessons on politics — from term limits to the president and Congress — to illuminate essential concepts such as privilege, truth, and the quality of institutions. For students, these values are essential to the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
by Katelyn Kirr, Head of Student Affairs
The United States is, to put it mildly, a very political society. We see this everywhere from the daily reports of political horse racing, to news of scandalous inter-parties, to recurring fights about the properness of elected representatives. Parents and administrators throughout the nation have seen this firsthand, yet often the political discussion in our schools continues to be relegated to negative matters.
It is always unfortunate when politicians, and their lessons on the finer points of American government, become the topics for students’ dissections and group argument-skills. This leaves little time to teach students about the serious concepts of civil liberties and democracy.
Our schools are here to “teach” to the common core, and most certainly not in a negative or exploitative manner. With all the controversy that is swirling around our country today, our public schools must work harder than ever to make good use of its resources — to ensure students have the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the world as adults.
What does a broader political discussion between teachers and students cover?
One possible place for political discussions in our schools would be in the form of school science class lessons on biodiversity and climate change. Numerous politicians will inform us that there is never an absolute solution to these issues, and that it takes time and effort to change mindsets and motivate action. The recently approved global warming resolution from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America means that school science classes have a new set of politics to tackle.
If these lessons are well-constructed, they can provide insight into important concepts such as privilege, truth, and the quality of institutions. For students, these values are essential to the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Our scientists may even want to look more deeply into the idea of the “1%” by questioning the ethics of corporations with seemingly close ties to high-level governmental officials. This could be the spark of interest needed to initiate a dialogue in the classroom and eventually spark an interest in the community at large.
It’s time to stop focusing solely on the negative aspects of politics. What students are learning in our schools has significance and needs to be a more appropriate time to teach students about issues. That’s why teachers and administrators should use more politically-inclined stories or discussions to inspire students.
This post is part of a series produced by The Young Invincibles, a nonpartisan organization that mobilizes America’s young people and focuses on their ideas, interests, and opinions as they relate to family and workplace issues. Learn more about the Young Invincibles here.