I have no problem with teaching children what I would call “the mechanics” of voting - how you must register to vote, how the electoral congress works, what actually happens in the booth, those type of things.
I do have a problem - a huge problem - with having children decide between real candidates before they’ve been taught any critical thinking skills: how to spot a logical fallacy, what a straw man argument is, etc, etc, etc.
If this election is any indication, THAT’S what we need to be teaching our children, because it would appear most adults haven’t gotten around to learning these things.
Now if Zoff’s son started asking good, thoughtful questions about the candidates because of his school’s mock election, I’d say that would be a good thing. But I’d imagine most of the “discourse” surrounding these mock elections is something along the lines of:
Kid #1 “You can’t vote for Gore. He’s so gay!”
Kid #2 “Shut up, you dingleberry!”
Kid #3 “Bush is, like, a butt muncher! You’re sooo stupid!”
To my mind, most adults are only slightly more sophisticated in their decision making process.
Some of you are saying “this is harmless fun” while others are saying “this is a simple learning experience”. I’d say it cannot be both, and I’d suggest that if children are learning anything from mock elections then it’s a deadly serious business. I don’t think anything we teach our children about the democratic process is without serious ramifications.
One of the reasons we have compulsory education is the belief that a good education produces better citizens, and better citizens should produce better government, right? If our current government is any indication, our education has gone awry.
All IMHO, of course.