Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Don't know much about history...."

Remember civics class -- that mandatory semester course that often left us yawning? It may be more important now than ever before, after the recent election. As reported in The Christian Science Monitor, some of Nathan McAlister's history class students at Royal Valley Middle School in Mayetta, Kansas, believe Donald Trump will repeal Obamacare on his first day in office. Others are just as sure Hillary Clinton would have taken away everyone's guns if she won.

                                                   Royal Valley Middle School

McAlister uses these misconceptions as teaching opportunities. "We've lost, I'd say, 10 to 15 years of good civic education and historical thinking skills for students -- it's almost like we've turned our president into a monarch," he says. "Think about it. They assume he has all this power, and that's just not reality." Other teachers are also using the recent election to help students understand why civic knowledge is essential to preserve a government that is by the people, for the people. Sometimes these teachers face parental blowback and accusations that they are teaching "politics," but McAlister feels students deserve to know how their country works and how they can engage in mechanisms of change.

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