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[r29] Column: Indiana’s future leaders
Start Date: 5/14/2014 All Day
End Date: 5/14/2014
Entry Description
Indiana’s future leaders

Last Friday, I had an amazing opportunity to visit two government classes, taught by Butch Robbins, at Noblesville High School. Students were participating in a program called Project Citizen. As they divided themselves into groups, students were asked to select an issue of concern to them, conduct research, explain the problem and develop a plan of action to resolve it. Each student in the group had put together a PowerPoint presentation and was responsible for supporting their issues.
 
Brad Howell, the Library Media Specialist, and I were asked to listen to the students’ presentations, comment on them and ask questions. The students did a great job selecting subjects that affect them; either in their school life or outside of the classroom. Some of the issues included: snow days and how best to handle them, bringing driver's education back to school, promoting recycling in school, adding more elective classes and changing the start time of the school day. Each topic was presented extremely well, but what I enjoyed most about the project was that students had to think critically and present a solution to every issue.
 
For the snow days or flex days, students felt that mixing them throughout the school year worked better, rather than having them all fall at the end of year. One student mentioned they came to this conclusion because of how valuable the days are at the end of year, especially when students are ready for graduation and summer break. The second reason was that families rely on a specific graduation date in order to invite their extended family or plan vacations, which might change if all the snow days were scheduled at the end of the year.
 
Bringing driver's education back into the curriculum was also an issue students felt was important. Realizing that cost played a critical role in this discussion, students made a proposal to pay for the education by increasing the gas tax. Brad and I explained to the students that while raising taxes might seem like the easiest and best solution to pay for these types of programs, many times, this is very difficult to achieve when taking into consideration public input. Ultimately, they made excellent points about how important taking the class would be to better prepare students once they attain their driver’s license.


There were two presentations on recycling. The first presentation emphasized individuals taking their own biodegradable bags to the store. This would prevent people from receiving and using plastic bags that can take a very long time to break down. The other group was asking the school to provide more recycling options, asking them to have recycling bins next to all of the trash containers. While this seemed like a great idea, many students questioned the financial impact this could have on the school’s budget. The students felt very strongly that the program was necessary to protect our environment, had done their research regarding cost, knew it must be a joint effort and were willing to look further into the program’s viability.
 
As you can see by the topics discussed, students worked hard, as a team and critically thought through several issues to find a solution. The final topic on school recycling is one that the classes voted on and will be presented Wednesday during a final panel review.
 
This program is very similar to the work I do at the Statehouse when creating or amending laws. First, there is an idea. Then, you do research and listen to input from experts and the public. Finally, you come up with a suggestion or solution to present to Hoosiers as well as members of the General Assembly.
 
I was honored to participate as one of the panelist and was truly impressed with incredible participation from the students. This is just one more example of how Noblesville High School is excelling. My congratulations to Mr. Robbins for using this program in his class and to the students for the manner in which they made it work.


-30-

Representative Kathy Kreag Richardson (R-Noblesville)

Contact Information:
Name: Ben Gavelek
Phone: 317-232-9831
Email: ben.gavelek@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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