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Tech Law and Public Policy Class  

 
–Sept.
30, 2016

 

On
Arsenal Technical High School’s historic college-style campus, Stuart Hall Academy
houses Choice (Magnet) classes, including those central to the school’s newest
program: Law & Public Policy. Designed to provide topical and engaging
academic and professional experience to students interested in a career in the
profession, nothing has proven to be more topical than the 2016 election. 

 

Fusing
political science with a passion for teaching, social studies instructor Karen Markman
and other Tech faculty are using this year’s local and national elections to not
only engage students but to teach them how the political process works. 

 

 

“I believe strongly that the future of our
country depends on engaged and informed citizens who are willing to be involved
in the political process,” said Markman, a graduate of Denison University and
Ball State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively, in
political science.

 

In
Markman’s classroom, the first image that catches one’s eye is a wall of pictures
outlining national and local candidates running for office. “I use this visual
to reinforce their understanding of the local and national candidates central
to this 2016 election,” said Markman. 

 

However,
a student at Tech doesn’t have to be in the Law and Public Policy program to
learn about community service, criminal justice or politics. “The teachers at Tech have worked hard to
create a number of election-related activities to involve,
inform and engage all of our students,” said Markman. 

 

As
evidence of how the faculty is reaching out to all students, there are civic
activities taking place campus-wide that allow all students of all interests to
get involved. Most notable is a series of four town hall meetings. The first
one begins at 1:30 p.m. today, Sept. 30, with a focus on executive branch
candidates. Representatives for Indiana gubernatorial candidates John Gregg and
Eric Holcomb have been invited to participate. 

 

After
fall break, the town halls will continue with a legislative branch candidates’ town
hall on Oct. 21 and a school board candidates’ town hall on Oct. 28. On Nov. 4,
the final day of the town hall meetings, students will hear directly from their
student council candidates.

 

 

“In addition to the town halls and a day of
presentations from the Marion County Election Board, we will also host a campus-wide
mock election with the support of the Indiana Bar Association,” said Markman. “At
this mock election, our students will vote not only for the president, governor,
senator and representative from Tech’s district, they will also vote for
the IPS School Board and Tech Student Council offices.” 

 

To
gain an understanding of the process of casting a vote, students must present a
valid Tech high school ID card and sign their name to the voter registration
log.

 

Two
years ago, the IPS Board of School Commissioners made the decision to transfer
the Law and Public Policy program from Shortridge International Baccalaureate High
School to Arsenal Technical High School. With minimal program infrastructure,
the task of rebuilding the program from the ground up was championed by Markman,
who has taught social studies at IPS since 1989.

 

What
does the magnet program look like now? “We believe that civic engagement should be the core foundational
purpose of the Law and Public Policy (program) at Tech and we
hope that the activities we are sponsoring help to support that
goal,” she said.

 

With
the investment of Tech faculty and administrators, matched with the assistance
of IU McKinney School of Law and the knowledge shared by real-world law
practitioners, the Law and Public Policy program at Tech is well on its way to
becoming one of several jewels in the Tech Titan arsenal of career and college
preparatory course offerings.