Karely Molina Martinez staff writer
As politics take a bigger role in affecting our lives today, it is imperative that students gain a deeper understanding of U.S. politics through high school curriculum.
While students are required to take the U.S. Government and Economics courses, they aren’t required anymore than those two semesters. Although there are various opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom, such as Junior State of America (JSA) or Political Club, getting students to partake in clubs itself is a difficult task on its own. Besides just providing students with the basic understanding of U.S. politics, preparing students to stand up and vote is important.
We are at a point in time where it is essential that everyone votes. If we do not require students to take part in more political opportunities through school, their chances of voting decreases. Educating students on current world politics increases their voting chances by getting them involved and informed.
There is no denying the fact that politics can often get out of hand and lead to disagreements. But if the school were to teach politics through a high school class, students could debate and discuss in a healthier, more civil and effective manner.
Surprisingly, Beverly Vista Middle School already provides a Current Events course for its students, yet our school fails to do the same. The Current Events elective offered to seventh and eighth graders allows them to become involved through research, discussion and examination of current world events. Current events teacher, Marissa Long, notices how the curriculum changes throughout the year, “The class topics change with what is currently happening in our world. As our world changes, so do the topics we tackle.” As current event issues appear, the students focus shifts, giving them access to a better understanding of the world around them. something which could be helpful to high school students.
If our district were to provide a class focused on current world politics for the high school, students would be able to freely voice their opinions. Each student would be allowed to speak about their beliefs and where they stand in each situation, but still have a controlled and professional manner in doing so.
If our school does not work on educating students about politics in order to help them find accurate information, then they are not fully doing their part to help prepare us for our future. Not only is it important that students have access to the information they need, but that they know where to access reliable and real sources. Through a formal curriculum, students would be able to access real and non-biased sources of information.
Teachers, such as Honors World History and AP U.S. History teacher Joanie Garratt, feel that there are “issues of free speech” when talking about politics during class. Teaching politics through a controlled high school classroom would allow teachers to facilitate debates and express their opinions safely, if they choose to.
It is never guaranteed that students will pay attention to a politically based class, but many history teachers themselves have noticed that when talking about politics, for brief moments during class, students tend to be more involved than during regular history lectures.
U.S. Government/Economics teacher and social studies department chair Catherine Pincu explains that “Students who take it [government] as a requirement, do end up becoming more involved.”
Incorporating current politics into high school curriculum would be essential to preparing students who will be the next generation in charge. If we as a school do not make an effort to prepare students for more than just college, we are not fulfilling the job of preparing students for their future. Politics play a big role in our life not only today, but in the years to come. Students can choose to not focus or learn about it right now, but we will know that we have provided them with all that we could to prepare for the future.