Chief Justice Welcomes Teachers to Government in Action Forum
By Anne Yeager | February 16, 2018
Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor welcomed 30 government and history teachers from around the state to the Thomas. J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.
She said teachers are on the front lines when it comes to encouraging students to get engaged in learning about our government.
"If students don't know, if students don't care, or become misinformed," said Chief Justice O'Connor, "they will easily be swayed by the forces of evil."
Lorain County Joint Vocational School teacher Jennifer Pluta said she experiences this every day.
"It's very frustrating with juniors and seniors," said Pluta. "These are kids on the cusp of registering to vote and having a say in their government, and they don't care."
Ohio's teachers received a hands-on lesson in state government through Ohio Government in Action, sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. (OCLRE)
"As students see government as real and relevant, they aren't just ideas, "said Springfield High School teacher Scott Hambrick. "They aren't just things you talk about. This is a real place where real decisions are made by real people that affect real people. I think they take an interest in that."
Chief Justice O'Connor issued a challenge to get students more involved.
"Your ability to teach the basics, the constitutional principles to your students and impress upon them to be an informed member of our society is invaluable," she said.
Ms. Pluta said she is optimistic about getting her students to care.
"It's challenging but when you have someone who says I would want to vote for this or I don't want to vote for that, to have some involvement, it's your blue ribbon winner day," she said.
As the teachers sat with all the justices, they left with a new passion and vision.
"Really for us, it's a great program," Hambrick said. "It extends our classroom here to Columbus and other parts of the state."