No News

There’s something very disturbing to me about people who never watch the news or don’t think the news is important. I know that it’s difficult to care when you’re just trying to put a roof over your head and food in your body, but government policy effects your ability to do that, and you hear about government policy in the news.

My students only have one TV in each dorm, and you can pretty much bet it’s not tuned to the news. It didn’t occur to me that they were missing out on information until a student came in yesterday and saw the Corretta Scott King funeral program on my desk. He was surprised to find that she had died two weeks ago. He hadn’t heard anything about it.

High school is when students really start to get interested in the world around them, especially if they are guided by an adult to find things that they’re interested in and read about them. Kids are naturally curious, but teenagers are naturally self-absorbed. Public schools do a pretty good job of keeping students into he loop about what’s going on (as long as it’s not political or religious), but I think boarding schools in America (I’ve worked at several) are doing a huge disservice to their students by not encouraging them to read the newspaper, watch the news, or check it on the Internet. For my part, I’ll be requiring an opinion essay on a news story once a week, and I feel remiss in not having done so before.


13 Responses to “No News”

  1. 1 greatwhitebear
    February 18, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    This has long been a pet peeve of mine!

    When I was in hs, every morning in home room we had to bring a non sports or entertainment article in from the previous days Pontiac Press or that mornings Detroit Free Press and be prepared to discuss it.

    You got marked with an unexcused absense, and had to stay for detention if you didn’t have it and got called on.

    It was a great way to get us involved in the events of the day.

  2. 2 Brad
    February 19, 2006 at 6:53 am

    I personally did not get too involved in current events/politics until college. I grew up as a republican, and it was not until I moved away from the beliefs of my parents that I began to see the world through my own eyes, not some filter that came pre-installed. Unfortunately, too many kids are still indocrinated with this pap by the formative years in their lives that they seem to almost outgrow the ability to broaden their own intellectual horizons.

  3. 3 Notsocranky Yankee
    February 19, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    I’m surprised they don’t see some news on the internet.

    When I was a freshman at the AF Academy, I was required to brief a current event at the lunch table each day before I could eat. I wouldn’t have read the paper otherwise, due to the high load of military and academic work, plus all the first year bullshit that kept me very busy. (We had no tv our first year and no internet at the time)

  4. 4 BarbaraFromCalifornia
    February 19, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    I agree.

    Watching the news is something I do each and every day. My son, also watches the news, whereever he is, via computer or television.

  5. 5 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    February 19, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    News is good.

    Apart from FOX news.

  6. 6 Jessica
    February 20, 2006 at 5:46 am

    Current events assignments are fantastic. Even better when they are relevant to the content you’re teaching. I lucked out and taught a book about Aristide coming to power in Haiti just a few weeks ago, prior to the most recent Haitian election. Good luck.

  7. 7 Balloon Pirate
    February 20, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Excellent idea.
    the best high school class I ever had was my ninth-grade modern history class. We sat and argued politics right up until the final two weeks of each semester, when we went over the stuff that was going to be on the state-controlled tests.

    I have been reading the news ever since.

    And I still know what the Teapot Dome scandal was, as well.


  8. 8 Saur♥Kraut
    February 20, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    I think you’re right in doing so. Good job!!!

  9. 9 United We Lay
    February 20, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks, guys. I have a different situation since my boys are so sheltered. They really are cut off from the outside world. I think requiring one article a week will be enough (they have a HUGE amount of homework). I talk to them about events relating to stories we read or vocabulary we go over (I teach Spanish now, too) and it seems to keep they’re interest. Maybe I’m just kidding myself and they listen because it’s not standard classwork.

  10. 10 Three Score and Ten or more
    February 21, 2006 at 2:53 am

    I meet people all the time, some who work in government, who don’t have a clue about anything that doesn’t directly involve them. It is tragic. I think you are pushing in the right direction.

  11. 11 United We Lay
    February 21, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    It really drives me up a wall. People are so ill informed, which is one of the reasons we have so many problems in this country. If people don’t know it’s broke, they won’t try to fix it.

  12. 12 mae.
    February 22, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    in my NEWS WRITING class a few weeks ago, we had a quiz, just for fun so my professor could see who was paying any attention to the news. the girl beside me couldn’t even answer the question of what the state of the union address was called, let alone what it was for. didn’t know who the secretary of state was, who coretta king was or where she died, and she ended up with a blank paper, which she showed off with a giggle.. the only question she had answered was who was going to the superbowl. (that was the only one i missed. haha.)

    we’re talking about a sophmore in college. taking a news writing class. scary.

    and the best part is, the ny times is available on campus for free for everyone, every day.

    i’m being judged along with my peers… it’s unfair, while i’m actually aware, and interested in what’s going on, and taking a stand to change things when i can.

  13. 13 United We Lay
    February 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    You’rte right, it is unfair. I think there should be an enterance exam for college. Right now anyone who can get loans can go and it really brings down the level of the discussion.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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