The future of elections

Published 11:20 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

It’s Election Day 2008. People are making their selection and taking part in the democratic process. Much of the driving force with voters involves the future.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of going into Dana Hill’s fifth-grade class at U.S. Jones Elementary School. The students were discussing the election process, including the electoral college, how states are likely to vote today and how they have voted in past elections, establishing trends.

Some U.S. Jones classes took part in an online election as well, taking part in and learning about the election process.

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Mrs. Hill’s class knew what was going on. Students made informed comments about trends among some of the battleground states, also known as “swing states.”

They talked about past elections and noted how the number of electors for each state changed as the population changed every 10 years.

It was encouraging to see such an interest in the election: the election of 2008 and the election process itself. It was really encouraging to hear such intelligent, informed comments coming from our younger students (though not surprising).

They were all taking part in the classroom discussion, using online maps and information, but it wasn’t just that they were repeating facts and trends, but they were also discussing what may happen if one swing state goes one way and another goes another way, actually using the information to come to their own conclusions.

We’ve been hearing stories like this from our other area schools as well, and that is good news. I love hearing about how our students are using their minds and thinking outside the notebook page. I ask our students not to be shy about being smart. It is a talent, a gift that you can develop and grow. You can all be smart kids with a little interest in your schoolwork and a little work towards doing well. If you put forth the effort and time to learn, you will be better people when you get older and will be ready for whatever the future brings.

In Mrs. Hill’s class, I have seen the future, and the future is very, very bright.