Sunday, April 15, 2012

GPDC Dinner, "The Road to the White House"

The President of the Greater Pinellas Democratic Club, Harvey Morgenstein, asked me to speak at the April dinner meeting about the "Road to the White House" course. (There are typically about 150 or more attendees at these dinner meetings.)

All of the judicial candidates were also going to be speaking at this meeting, so I was delighted that Harvey invited me to bring some of my students to the dinner meeting as well. I was able to invite my Law and Politics class (in which we study judicial campaigns and elections) as well as students in my Road to the White House class.

I briefly discussed course design and implementation and how the course has changed since I developed it in 2004. Unlike the 2004 and 2008 classes, in which I took my class up to New Hampshire where all of the students interned on presidential primary campaigns in the first-in-the-nation primary, this year, in 2012, all students in the class interned on presidential primary campaigns right here in Florida.

In many ways, the impact of this campaign internship requirement in 2012 was similar to the impact of the campaign internship requirement in my American Government class. That is, students signed up for this semester's course largely unaware that there would be any hands-on component to the class.

I shared some of the data from the pre-test/post-test surveys conducted in my American Government classes (before and after the campaign internship requirement) to explain what I learned about the ways in which the internship affected students' attitudes towards campaigns, elections, politics.

You can read the full text of an article I wrote analyzing the data ("Learning Citizenship by Doing") by clicking here

I was so pleased that some of the students in the Road to the White House class were able to join me -- and that they were able to share their experiences and what they have learned on the campaign trail.

I should note that 11 students in the class are interning for Republican candidates, 11 are interning for President Obama's re-election or the FDP Democratic Caucuses, and 1 student is interning for the Libertarian campaign.

While this was a Democratic function, I was able to invite all students to come and hear from the judicial candidates regardless of the students' party affiliation.

Coincidentally, many of the guests in the audience had been listening to NPR news on their drive to the event -- and had heard my students and me talking about the Road to the White House class as a part of Mark Schreiner's "University Beat" series.

Click here to hear the radio and to see the TV spots:

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