Eye of the Editors: Politics in the Classroom

Political topics should be discussed in a well-rounded and productive manner.

Given the current political climate of the U.S., it has become increasingly important that students are informed about the world around them. As such, teachers need to provide class time to discuss political matters from an objective perspective.
Teachers are individuals who students should look up to and respect. It is dangerous for figures of authority to share their opinions without also soliciting opposing viewpoints, as those with power can influence others disproportionately. Yet, it is even worse when teachers tiptoe around political topics.
Students represent the future of this country, as they will be the ones voting and making decisions. Thus it is vital that they are aware of and educated on current political issues. Teachers should seek to provide students a background on current issues and why they are controversial in order to give students an idea of the world around them and empower them to make informed decisions in the future.
Politics should exist in the classroom in two forms—discussions and lectures. Teachers should do what they can to inform students about relevant political issues by presenting facts about them and clarifying why they are controversial. This is separate from holding class discussions, during which students can share their own thoughts.
The discussions that do happen should feature viewpoints from both sides of the spectrum. By facilitating and promoting these discussions instead of actively participating, teachers would not overly influence students.
Teachers should act only as moderators who present the class with context before allowing students to present and develop their own opinions. They should step in only if incorrect statistics are brought up, students are becoming too heated or the discussion is moving off topic.
The whole point of having these conversations in the classroom is to allow students to form and share their own opinions in a forum where they will not be judged for their ideas. While no student should be forced to give an opinion, those who do can help others form their own.
While students at Diamond Bar High School may feel as if political debates raging around the country have no effect on their lives, it is vital they become more aware of the issues at hand. Teachers should approach politics with caution as to not overshare, but they should also refrain from complete silence on current issues.