Lance Scranton: When students talk politics
Teachable moments abound when election ballots are counted and the popular vote doesn’t match the Electoral College. I referred to the much-discussed controversy last week, but when classes of high school seniors became intrigued — you gotta go with it!
Seniors who were happy with the election results and those who felt like things should have gone the other way explained their differences as only high schoolers can:
“Our system is so out-of-date!”
“How can people not see that we live in a democracy?”
“Coach, who did you vote for?”
“Quit complaining — it’s over!”
“This is so stupid!”
After allowing for a free flowing, robust, expression of opinions, I asked a simple question: “Who knows how our system of government works?”
Most responded that we live in a democracy. Then the conversation turned to the Pledge of Allegiance. I asked if they knew what this part of the allegiance means: “…and to the republic for which it stands.”
They all knew, but they don’t really want to argue the merits of the case because they (as my good friend always said) want to have a discuss-ament. It’s when you have a discussion and an argument! So, we had a discuss-ament about why the founding fathers would give candidates this electoral elbow room and how our government is predicated on a system of checks and balances. The Electoral College, while not perfect, I explained is a solid compromise for helping distribute power throughout the republic.
So, once we reviewed our critical thinking skills, how to determine fact from opinion and how we recognize fallacies in reasoning; students understood that while their heart might not like the outcome, the facts speak louder. As is usually the case in my classes, the teenagers provided the example all of us adults should follow. It is usually summed up by a quirky comment or an off-the-cuff remark. One student who was clearly not happy about the outcome said the following, “You may not like how it turned out, but it is how it is, and it’s time to move on.”
I responded in kind and we all decided it’s cool to live in our country because we have a say in who we choose as our leaders — we care about the candidates and who wins… another great day in the classroom!
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and my profound thanks to you for allowing me to help teach and coach your children!
Lance Scranton is a teacher and a coach at Moffat County High School.Lance Scranton is a teacher and a coach at Moffat County High School. Lance Scranton is a teacher and a coach at Moffat County High School.
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