424: Kid Politics
Jan 14, 2011
What if, say, the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 had been decided, not by Ronald Reagan, but by a bunch of middle-schoolers? And what if every rule at your high school had been determined, not by teachers and administrators, but entirely by teenagers? This week, stories about whether, when it comes to governing, kids do any better than grown-ups.
- Ira Glass plays clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me, by Weijun Chen. It follows a third grade class in central China in the very first election they've ever had or witnessed. It's surprising how quickly these kids devise tactics used by adult politicians. The film originally aired on Independent Lens on PBS. (3 1/2 minutes)
- As adults battle over how climate change should be taught in school, we try an experiment. We ask Dr Roberta Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, who helps develop curricula on climate change, to present the best evidence there is to a high school skeptic, a freshman named Erin Gustafson. Our question: Will Erin find any of it convincing? (14 minutes)
- Jyllian Gunther visits The Brooklyn Free School, where there are no courses, no tests and no homework, and where the kids decide everything about how the school is run, including discipline. Jyllian is a filmmaker, working on a documentary called Growing Small. (16 minutes)Song: "If the Kids are United (They'll Never Be Divided)", Sham-69
Web ExtraYou can see more photos from the "Trickle Down History" and "Minor Authorities" stories here:
Image from Ben Calhoun.