Lake Zurich students dissect presidential election
Officals said they will get less money from the state this year in Community Unit School District 95, but that money only counts for roughly 5 percent of the budget. | Photo courtesy of District 95
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:38AM
LAKE ZURICH — Although most Lake Zurich High School students are not yet old enough to vote, they have been considering where they stand on the issues as the Nov. 6 election nears.
Terry Geoghegan, who teaches a variety of government classes at the high school, reported that his classes have been studying voting behavior in recent weeks.
“We took some time and combed through the Internet,” said Geoghegan.
The Pew Research Center, he explained, has a test of roughly 30 questions that can help someone determine where he or she might stand on political issues.
“Instead of guessing where you are, it’s neat to take these tests,” said Geoghegan. “Candidates today are marketing themselves, and one of the things we’ve been learning is to look at the breakdown.”
Geoghegan said by looking into the finer details of each political race, students have learned that women tend to vote more than men, and women tend to vote Democratic at a greater rate. The example, he explained, helps students understand that candidates target their messages to their most attentive audience and tailor their campaigns accordingly.
“Those are the types of things that are important for kids to know,” said Geoghegan.
Education also plays a role, Geoghegan explained, as candidates look at education levels to determine voter preferences.
“They’re not dictated by these things, but political scientists like to whittle these things down,” he said.
Geoghegan said his government classes also have focused on the recent televised debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. He said his students at first commented more on the superficial aspects, like the candidates interrupting one another.
Geoghegan said he’s been able to steer his students more toward the actual issues of the debates. He said some of the issues high school students are concerned about include college education and the economy.
“That’s what I’m trying to teach them,” Geoghegan said. “To think for themselves.”
Geoghegan said projects in the coming weeks include having students write a paper about where they stand on issues and why.
“I’ll probably have them go to the Internet and try to predict who will win the Electoral College,” he added.
Geoghegan said he thinks there is about an equal split in his classes between students who support Romney and students who say they’d vote for Obama.
“They know that if Obama wins, the House is still predominately Republican,” said Geoghegan. “There’s a lot of healthy debate between the two sides.”