(Aired January 14, 2011)
Description: Through a prologue and three acts, cases in which children are given opportunities to govern are explored. The prologue investigates the case of a third-grade class in central China that holds its first ever election, using clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me. The first act follows a middle school field trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where children are asked to “stand in Reagan´s shoes,” by deliberating over whether or not to invade Grenada in 1983. In the second act, TAL charges Dr. Roberta Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, with providing a high school climate change skeptic with the best evidence of climate change. The high schooler, Erin Gustafson, is given a chance to respond. The third and final act examines The Brooklyn Free School, a school where children are able to make decisions about topics ranging from their own homework and testing to school discipline. Acts I and II are relevant to discussions of indoctrination and pairs well with Rousseau’s Emile. Act III is relevant to Dewey’s discussion of progressive education.
Topics/Themes: Indoctrination, Progressive education/Free schools, Democratic education