Last night I went to a meeting at my eleven-year-old's school. The purpose of the meeting was "curriculum night". Basically, they explain the homework to you so you can help your child without confusing them.
Anyway, the teacher was talking about their current events unit, which as you might expect is primarily taken up with the election process right now.
The teacher told of an exercise wherein he read from both the Bush and Kerry websites. He read where each of the candidates stood on the main issues of the campaign. He didn't say who was who just "this is what candidate one says, this is what candidate two says".
The kids made tally marks about each thing they agreed with from each candidate.
Then the kids voted on the issues.
Four kids voted for Bush. 26 kids voted for Kerry.
You have to realize the significance of this. We live in Eden Prairie, MN. George W Bush came to our high school and lauded it as a model for all school systems everywhere presumably due to the fact that it is in a tremendously affluent and conservative suburb, and continues to pump out high-quality graduates despite being severely under-funded.
(I can tell you how they do this in another article. But mostly, it has to do with teachers spending out-of-pocket for classroom supplies, parents donating supplies, a legion of parent volunteers in lieu of staff, and parents spending about as much time and energy teaching their kids at home as they do earning money at work, endless fundraisers, and an endless stream of nickel-and-dime fees that don't seem like much individually, but add up to a lot over time...oh yeah, and deferring essential building maintenance for the past few years.)
At any rate, Eden Prairie has grown a crop of Bush/Cheney yard signs that rivals the corn crops of neighboring rural towns. This is Bush country, make no mistake about it, as illustrated by the fact that most of the kids who voted for John Kerry were greatly upset by it. They booed the results of their vote. They were upset that they had voted for the "wrong guy".
Glancing around the classroom at the faces of the other parents, I could see that many of them were disturbed as well. What could have gone wrong? How had they failed their children? What did this mean?
The teacher went on to say that he assured the kids that the election was not yet over, and that there still might be many issues where they would agree with George W. Bush, and maybe when they tried again later, they would end up voting for him.
The parents looked relieved as well.
The gears that had begun to grind uncomfortably in their heads smoothed out and they relaxed.
We moved on to talk about other things, and everyone was happy.
Update: I created an online version of the same concept.