Foster political discourse

Chronicle Staff

Just last month, we experienced one of the most drastic governmental shifts of power in the past decade, and most students didn’t even know about it. We are now engaged in a war that has lasted longer for Americans than World War II.

The Secretary of Defense resigned and our plan of attack in Iraq is in the middle of sweeping reform. Yet, the few students that care are surrounded by many who just do not.

Our parents’ generation had the bug. With the controversial Vietnam War occuring during their earlier years, many teens turned to political activism and tried to “stick it to the man.” Rallies, protests and radical opinions characterized the 1960s.

Many people draw parallels between our futile effort in Vietnam and the situation in which we are now mired, but the vigorous outcry that accompanied the former is now conspicuously absent. While no military draft is in place and we are in no direct danger of going to war ourselves, our global situation is equally as perilous and information is paramount.

After a promising Sept. 11 discussion forum, in which nearly 100 students and faculty gathered to reflect and debate, the school seemed to be heading toward creating a more conducive environment to talk about the goings on of our tumultuous world. Yet the school shied away from its own advice of choosing the hard right and failed to continue.

The success of the Sept. 11 meeting should have catalyzed a series of round table debates in which students and teachers volley back and forth on pressing political and international issues. The school community should collaborate and take it upon themselves to increase political discourse and awareness.

Along with the myriad clubs which meet during break on Mondays, students should also have the opportunity to gather in an organized fashion and talk.

Those who are informed should feel free to express their opinions, and the uninformed should feel welcome to expand their knowledge base.

Although classes are currently in place dedicated to “current topics,” students are forced to enroll in many required courses and cannot enjoy the, at times, more interesting electives.

Many history teachers give their students weekly current events quizzes. However, the majority of kids simply glean what they can from the headlines or cram the period before, rarely absorbing much.

Teachers should focus more on discussion-based assignments where each student brings in an article and tells the class briefly what it is about. If the class decides something is discussion-worthy, it may delve into that as the students please.

We possess an able and intellectually stimulated student body which deserves the option of discussing politics. As we enter the world as adults, there is not a more important time for us to be educated in and critical of world events and the learning starts here.