Students dissect presidential debate
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:10AM
Some Wood Oaks Junior High School students in Northbrook may be more prepared to vote than some of those old enough to vote.
An eighth-grade social studies class of 12 and 13 year olds taught by instructor Gella Meyerhoff demonstrated their knowledge Oct. 23 as they discussed the presidential candidates’ last debate.
They focused on, among other things, the role the U.S. plays in the world because the presidential debate the night before was about foreign policy, said social studies teacher Chris Beck, who was visiting the class. He, Geoff Marshall, an eighth grade social studies teacher, and Meyerhoff had been working with the students using the Socratic discussion method.
“And a huge piece of this was understanding multiple perspectives,” said Katharine Olson, School District 27’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Although the students did not disclose their choices for president, they went over the issues they considered most important and the candidates’ take on them.
Student Daniel Gros pointed out that Republican Mitt Romney would cut Obama Care, but not military spending. President Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, said that the U.S. already spends more than the next 10 countries do on the military, student Hassan Kahn said.
“Americans don’t like the uneven trade balance we have with China, so some might vote for Romney because they don’t want another country to have power over us,” student Katie Whalen said.
Student Jiayi Huang, who is of Chinese heritage, wasn’t concerned about the trade imbalance, but was taken back by the difference in the candidates’ proposed handling of tax issues here, as well as the and the troops in Afghanistan. That decided her “vote,” she said.
It was the candidate who stated that the recognition of women’s rights was necessary for their countries’ progress that caught student Brianna Policarpio’s attention and probably her “vote.”
The students also were asked to click on a CNN link and choose three different locations around the world to find out what people there were saying about the U.S. presidential race. Several students noted that some people would like the U.S. to take care of its own problems instead of trying to police other nations. ~.