I recently assigned my third project to my kids. They had to keep a science journal for the marking period. Each week, they were to cut out or print out an article from a newspaper. They had to write three paragraphs: summarize the article, link it to science (and explain the science), and give an opinion about the article or the science.
Of course, it was "too much, miss!" If I had a dollar for every time... anyway.
One of my better students handed hers in. It was hand written, which makes the fact that it was grammatically correct and almost completely spelled correctly much more awesome. She had articles on a new FBI database (science: technology), unsolved shootings in the city (ballistics and forensics), the new soda and sweets tax (health), and many others. The thing that struck me was, every opinion of hers came down to this: there aren't enough laws or enough law enforcement. Every problem - including obesity - can and should be litigated.
I remembered back to an essay contest I was required to enter my sophomore year of high school. We had to write a letter to a world leader, letting them know how we could make the world more peaceful. I was angry - I hated writing essays. So I wrote my letter to "Joe", the average man in the streets. I asked him how he could expect his leader to make a difference when Joe did all sorts of mean things. Blah blah blah. Filled it with sentimental sap. My teacher was peeved, but whatever. He couldn't prove I had done it tongue in cheek.
I won second place. He laughed his butt off with me.
The first place essay, I think, was to Ronald Reagan - telling him to cool his jets. But it stuck to me, even then, that we all expected someone else to solve our problems for us.
So, my question: is it the age (teenager) who thinks that government can actually do something worthwhile, or is it the time (now, 21st century) where we put more faith in law than in humanity?
Labels: politics, teaching, yarns