For the older demographic of the current generation, the 2016 presidential election represents their first foray into the vast expanse of the political realm. While this election process in particular has been riddled with complexities and complications such as the dispute over violence at the candidates’ rallies, its presence within current events benefits individuals that are finally old enough to vote, as well as Government classes.
A common complaint leveled at millennials is their lack of participation in current events, and this idea does actually hold some weight. A study conducted by the Census Bureau found that during the 2012 presidential election, a mere 38 percent of people who are 18 to 24 years old actually voted.
For a society to function, a voice for every demographic is necessary to carry out equality within domestic affairs.
However, much of this idea that youth does not participate in current events can be attributed to the way that they are educated on current events and whether or not they are actually supplied with the information necessary to participate.
The Institute of Education attributes low voter turnout in younger age ranges to a lack of political education within the academic curriculum. The Institute’s Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study found that added exposure to current politics and other relevant citizenship concepts increases political efficacy for the future.
As such, the 2016 election provides a unique opportunity for this youth demographic to see the political process firsthand as well as learn vital information that could affect their political participation throughout the rest of their lives.
The benefits of this opportunity do not simply extend to those with the potential to be politically active either. While Government classes examine many of the topics relevant to political elections, having an election process take place in real time as the class progresses adds context to some of the more abstract ideas presented, such as the role of media coverage.
A study conducted by Catherine Crouch, Adam Fagen, Paul Callan and Eric Mazur of Harvard University found that individuals who discuss issues and problems and apply them to reality have a much greater comprehension rate than those who are simply told or shown something. Allowing Government classes to utilize issues brought forth in the elections increases their understanding of the titular structure and how it functions.
The 2016 election has brought many controversial issues to light in the public eye and has effectively shattered the remnants of America’s idealistic perspective. These problems, however, apply to all residents of the nation, including the youth demographic.
Rather than sheltering them from learning about these issues, they should be afforded exposure to their existence in an effort to prepare them for their responsibility to maintaining the welfare of society as they depart from the realm of youth.