Total Pageviews

Monday, September 24, 2012

Register-Mail Look at Our Class

If you’ve heard that younger voters — or soon-to-be voters — are apathetic, you haven’t had a chance to talk with the students in Evan Massey’s poli sci 368 class at Galesburg High School.
However, everyone can read what class members are writing about politics, elections and the upcoming presidential race in particular as they blog about the elections of 2012 at

During class last week, some students said they already were interested in politics. Others said they are now interested.

“I’ve followed it pretty actively,” said Riley Van Velsor. “This class has helped me understand both sides.”

Sergio Garza, another student who was already a political junkie of sorts, agreed.
“We’re really covering all the issues,” Garza said, “giving other people a resource that is unbiased. It’s also a collective body. There are a lot of opinions in this classroom.”

Garza showed his grasp of the topic by casually offering a spot-on analysis of why Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Massey gives the class assignments to submit electronically onto the blog. He said he initially was concerned the blogs might turn out to be highly partisan and filled with sound bites. He said the students have done a good job avoiding that, although he admitted, “sometimes they’re not able to do that, their bias is too strong, just as with adults.”

The class also has taken field trips, such as a recent one to Knox College where they met with Owen Muelder to discuss the Lincoln-Douglas debate.

The class of juniors and seniors has done such a good job at what Massey called “having intellectual conversations about this” that they have even affected their teacher.

“Quite honestly, I think I’m one of those who tended to be a cliche and sound-bite person. It’s definitely got me a lot more involved in politics,” he said.

Seven members of the class are old enough to vote. Three said they have decided who will get their vote for president, while another expressed a leaning toward one of the candidates. Of those not old enough to vote, 16 said they know who they would vote for if they could. Fifteen said they already knew that before the class began.

“So the class hasn’t had any impact,” Massey joked.

Dani Teel said the class has helped her be more aware of what the Republicans stand for and what the Democrats stand for. She said the class was assigned the task of watching both Mitt Romney and President Obama’s convention acceptance speeches and comparing the two. All in all, Teel feels she has more of a handle as to what is going on.

“I definitely notice more of the (political) ads,” she said.

Teel said she’s more aware of the mudslinging that goes on between the candidates.
“I really didn’t know about that before,” she said, adding she likes the spin Massey is putting on the class, using blogs in his class for the first time.

Tori Worsfold is another student with a newfound interest in the election.
“At first, I didn’t know anything,” Worsfold said. “Now I know the facts.”

Her assessment? Both men are qualified to be the leader of the free world.
“Romney is definitely more of a businessman and Obama has better ideas,” she said.
Asked if she enjoys blogging, for all the world to see, Worsfold said, “I enjoy it, but it’s kind of intimidating, because people can comment on it.”

Massey said the project has evolved.
“In part, we are creating a textbook for our class to use toward the end of class,” he said, a chance for everyone to read through after the election.

One final component he inserted was to choose two adults with conservative views, two with liberal ideas and two more in between. The six talked to the class early on.

“I respect these people, because they have really worked to educate themselves as adults,” Massey said. “I’m going to ask them, as students, to pick out four or five issues that determined who they would vote for. I asked each of the adults what they would identify as major issues, unimportant issues and what should be issues that aren’t.

“It’s been fun,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment