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AMFELLOWS  December 1998

AMFELLOWS December 1998

Subject:

Impeachment teaching, yes.

From:

doctrgus <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

American Memory Fellows <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 17 Dec 1998 18:00:58 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (90 lines)

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Fellows:

Here's how I feel about it: we can't wait for this issue to come to us.  We can't
sit back, as teachers, and let our students dictate the agenda of the classroom
because they're not interested in what's going on.  It's possible that students on
May 8, 1945, weren't too interested that Germany surrendered to the Allies; or in
1968, that Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed -- or any such event
that we just know is significant and important.  Why should we let the impeachment
crisis go by without discussing it productively in our classrooms?  How can we?  I
believe we shouldn't.

It's not such a simple issue, indeed.  Complex problems are involved, involving the
Constitution, interpretation, the machinery of government, the motivation of
political people, personal feelings about the Presidency and the President.  All
the more reason, I think, to discuss what's going on, lay out the issues involved,
define the terms.  Don't you get tired of hearing you students say something like,
"It really doesn't matter.  They're all liars and thieves down in Washington,
anyway?"  Or, "They're all hypocrites, doing the same as Clinton, or worse"?  Or
simply not understanding what the word "impeachment" means, anyway?  I'm sick of
it, and I hope that I'm using the opportunity of this current
event/history-in-the-making to clarify some ideas and definitions.

 It seems to me that the students inherited their cynical opinions, whole, from
their parents -- let's hope that their teachers didn't feed them such cynicism
mixed with ignorance about government and politics.  I think that we should take
advantage of this opportunity to illustrate an object lesson of government at
work.  It may not be pretty, it may not be easy to understand, it may not be sexy
or dramatic, it may take longer to play out than we'd like, and we may not agree
with many/most of what's being said and done.  But if students' lack of interest or
their collective judgment that such-and-such is boring and unimportant -- if these
things guide us past certain subjects or deter us from discussing them in class,
then we might just as well skip over Reconstruction, too, and that milquetoast-y
fellow Woodrow Wilson, and lord knows what else.

For what it's worth.

Arnold Pulda

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<HTML>
Fellows:

<P>Here's how I feel about it: we can't wait for this issue to come to
us.&nbsp; We can't sit back, as teachers, and let our students dictate
the agenda of the classroom because they're not interested in what's going
on.&nbsp; It's possible that students on May 8, 1945, weren't too interested
that Germany surrendered to the Allies; or in 1968, that Martin Luther
King and Robert Kennedy were killed -- or any such event that we just <B>know
</B>is significant and important.&nbsp; Why should we let the impeachment
crisis go by without discussing it productively in our classrooms?&nbsp;
How can we?&nbsp; I believe we shouldn't.

<P>It's not such a simple issue, indeed.&nbsp; Complex problems are involved,
involving the Constitution, interpretation, the machinery of government,
the motivation of political people, personal feelings about the Presidency
and the President.&nbsp; All the more reason, I think, to discuss what's
going on, lay out the issues involved, define the terms.&nbsp; Don't you
get tired of hearing you students say something like, "It really doesn't
matter.&nbsp; They're all liars and thieves down in Washington, anyway?"&nbsp;
Or, "They're all hypocrites, doing the same as Clinton, or worse"?&nbsp;
Or simply not understanding what the word "impeachment" means, anyway?&nbsp;
I'm sick of it, and I hope that I'm using the opportunity of this current
event/history-in-the-making to clarify some ideas and definitions.

<P>&nbsp;It seems to me that the students inherited their cynical opinions,
whole, from their parents -- let's hope that their teachers didn't feed
them such cynicism mixed with ignorance about government and politics.&nbsp;
I think that we should take advantage of this opportunity to illustrate
an object lesson of government at work.&nbsp; It may not be pretty, it
may not be easy to understand, it may not be sexy or dramatic, it may take
longer to play out than we'd like, and we may not agree with many/most
of what's being said and done.&nbsp; But if students' lack of interest
or their collective judgment that such-and-such is boring and unimportant
-- if these things guide us past certain subjects or deter us from discussing
them in class, then we might just as well skip over Reconstruction, too,
and that milquetoast-y fellow Woodrow Wilson, and lord knows what else.

<P>For what it's worth.

<P>Arnold Pulda</HTML>

--------------7181CE325096B86C73A33532--

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