Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Our View: Lessons in civics will pay off in end

February 6, 2008

This past week, students from Tonganoxie Elementary School paid a visit to Topeka and the Statehouse.

In and of itself, that's not news. On any given day during the Kansas Legislature's annual session, the hallways of the Capitol are filled with students of all ages. Here's what differentiates the Tonganoxie students' visit: They were in the Capitol to give testimony about legislation to make the bluegill the officials state fish of Kansas.

Talk about a hands-on lesson in civics.

The students have been working on the legislation for two sessions, studying the issue, working with their local state representative, Kenny Wilk, and trying to gain backing from other schoolchildren and lawmakers across the state.

Along the way, they're receiving invaluable lessons about how the legislative process works. They're finding out their ideas aren't always accepted as good ideas by others. They're learning how to enunciate their views, to persuade others to their side, to work to achieve their goal. In short, they're learning about how democracy works.

The students know getting the bluegill named the official state fish isn't a done deal. Whatever the outcome, they will realize one day they got an insider's view of how our system of government works, and that's a lesson worth learning.

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