Urban’s elections class analyzes 2016 race


Charisse Wu lectures during Elections and Civics Class, Oct. 5, 2016.

   In the midst of one of America’s most strange and complex presidential elections, many Urban students have chosen to widen their political understanding in taking the “Elections 2016” course offered as a history elective. One of the few high schools in the Bay Area to offer the course, Urban has continually taught a class devoted to digesting and analyzing the presidential campaign every four years.

The course description states that “students will develop a better sense of their own political leanings and explore ways they might influence our democracy by connecting and working together with other communities to analyze available data and share information.” In past Elections classes and in the three current classes, students connected with students from the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia. Students from both schools have virtual conversations on Diigo, an online platform that allows students to post articles and comment.

   The current presidential election is like no other. Beginning in the primaries with 17 republicans running, against six for the democratic nominee, one of which was a 75-year-old independent, it was bound to be an interesting election season.

     “Since it is so polarizing, it shows the distinct differences of my classmate’s opinions and therefore makes our conversations a lot more controversial,” said Lucy Masto (‘18) who is in one of the junior-senior classes.

   “It isn’t true that today’s issues are inherently more polarizing than the past,” said President Barack Obama in a recent speech in an address to the Illinois General Assembly. The current presidential candidate’s opposite personalities and rhetoric have made this election appear increasingly polarized, but as Obama argued, it is no different than any other presidential election.

  Masto said her biggest challenge in the class thus far is writing essays about her beliefs without knowing where they are coming from. Seven out of ten 13-18-year-olds are likely to align with their parents and families values and beliefs.

  No matter the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, students taking Urban’s Elections class will surely have a unique and compelling experience.