Gov/Econ Class Comes Too Late to Fully Benefit New Voters

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Rebecca Gluck, Staff Writer

It’s an exciting experience to vote for the first time.You’re 18 years old, legally an adult, and ready to make your mark on the world. But as you stand in the voting booth and mark your vote, you realize that you know very little about what the policies your preferred candidate plans to implement.

Students can vote when they turn 18, but many birthdays fall early or in the middle of the school year when the Economics/Government curriculum is not yet finished. The information and activities in this class prepares students for the responsibility of voting. If the course is taken during senior year, many students will go into the voting booth with limited knowledge about who or what they are truly voting for.

It’s likely that students have existing knowledge about politics and can make informed decisions when voting, but if they vote before experiencing the econ/gov curriculum, students miss out on comprehensive information and chances to discuss relevant issues, which could expose them to different viewpoints.

Young voters may also vote based on what their parents political beliefs are. While teenagers may agree on the ideas of a certain political party, certain legislation is not always black-and-white and requires additional thought beyond what one’s favorite political party may think. If students took econ/gov before senior year, they would be prepared to analyze such statutes and make educated decisions in their votes.

A large portion of any history class includes information about the economy and government of countries. The history is a lot more difficult to learn when students don’t have a strong knowledge of these systems. “I understand the basics of the economy but there are a lot of things in terms of government that I don’t completely get when we study certain things in AP U.S. History. Having basic information about that subject would be really helpful in that class,” junior Ali Ingrey said.

Instead of offering AP European History primarily as a sophomore course and econ/gov as a senior course, the classes could be switched. AP Euro is just as hard – if not harder – than econ/gov, and it would be beneficial if students went into the class with knowledge about the economy and government when studying events such as the Great Depression.