As parents, it's pretty nice when our kids teach us a lesson or "show us how it's done."
At a time when much political debate in Wisconsin and nationally seems intensely partisan, personal and petty, more reasoned and rational political discussion comes from a local group of high school students who annually take part in a national civic education program and competition known as We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution.
The nationwide program is designed to promote civic competence and responsibility among students. More than 30 million students and 90,000 educators have participated in We the People since it was founded in 1987.
Here in Milwaukee, five teams recently participated in the We the People state finals competition at Marquette University Law School. Previous competitions were held at the State Capitol, but the higher educational venue at Marquette seems more appropriate than the legislative one in Madison these days.
Wauwatosa West High School won this year's competition, followed by Wauwatosa East and other schools such as South Milwaukee and Hartford. It's the fifth straight State win for Tosa West, while Tosa East and Heritage Christian of Brookfield have each won numerous state titles in the last 25 years. The state winners and possible alternates are eligible to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. in late April, but must also raise significant funds for the trip.
I am fortunate enough to be following and closely watching this year's competition since my son is currently studying and competing with about 25 other juniors from Tosa West.
Each school in We the People divides their team into groups of four or five students. The groups work to prepare four-minute opening statements to three different questions, which they read to a panel of expert judges. The panel includes lawyers, teachers or college professors. The panel grills the students for six minutes on their statements or any other area o…Read more...