Politics, social issues blaze classrooms

Bush bashing no, discussions yes.

By Jared Kraham | The Warrior Report

On Sunday, the Press & Sun-Bulletin featured an article on controversial topics discussed in the classroom, its link here: pressconnects.com

The article brought some excellent points about the topics of conversation in a high school classroom setting. The story chronicled Greg McCausland’s social studies class at Binghamton High School, where very few topics are off-limits, and almost none off-topic.

A nationwide trend shows that more and more classrooms are participating in opinionated “debate-like” settings where connections to studies reflect events in the world outside of the school. Political issues raise awareness, and also allow for students to express their opinions.

Not every student at Chenango Valley High School has a media outlet like The Warrior Report to critique school officials, or give suggestions for change. And classroom debates can turn into ego-smashing contests in some situations, but can also give a chance for the somewhat less outgoing student to state their ideals and defend them.

In my opinion, this kind of discussion happens less frequently than it should. Even the Debate Club became defunct after the Christmas break (yes “Christmas,” not “Holiday”), which was an sanctuary for teen angst and opinion.

In the tenth grade AP World History class, outside topics are encouraged to help students understand tought topics. “To someone not paying attention, it may seem like a current events understanding class, it’s a nice break.” says Canaan Coppola, a member of Kelly Haskell’s class. “AP doesn’t mean more homework, it simply takes a more realistic look at history, and present day politics have to fall in there somewhere.”

And to the overstressed, sleep-deprived, teenagers of today, that “break” may be important, although school officials don’t seem to share the same praise I do.

Homework is not the only way to learn, and the more interaction and appreciation students have for their own opinions as well as the opinions of others, the more they can understand the inner-workings of the outside world.

However, those who don’t do their homework might not have the best information for a healthy classroom discussion, but if all else fails, bringing up the War in Iraq, immigration, or gay marriage will certainly get the conversation going.

E-mail: cvwarriors@gmail.com

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