Part 2: Politics
May 15, 2015
For the second part of our exploration into the diversity of thought at Head-Royce, we looked at the political landscape of the School. It’s no secret that the majority of our school community identifies as liberal. In fact, in a random poll of Upper School students, 40 of 41 agreed that the Head-Royce faculty consists of primarily Democrats, and 35 of 41 said the same for the student body. What we have sought to learn is how these perceptions affect the quality and substance of political dialogue within the school community. Further, we dug into the conservative experience to see what it was like to represent the red in a sea of blue. And we honed in on the evolution of political thought throughout the Head-Royce experience, from six eager first graders, to the thoughtful reflections of a few upperclassmen. In this section you will find:
— Teachers’ thoughts on how political topics are presented in their classrooms
— Ethan CasselMace’s round table discussion about politics with 6 first-graders
— Six upperclassmen talking about how their time at the School has shaped their political views
— An audio collage of students’ views of political stereotypes
— Conservative students sharing their experiences at the School
— Mr. Barankin and Naoko discussing how to facilitate genuine political conversations in the community
— Plus, throughout are infographics by Miriam Goldgeil that help paint the picture of the School’s political landscape
Team: CJ Novogradac (’15), Linnea Engstrom (’15), Meaghan Baus (’15), Abraham Wordsworth (’15), Julia O’Sullivan (’16), Lauren Quittman (’16), Miriam Goldgeil (’17, Infographics), Zack Mintz (’17), Rhea Park (’18)
Politics: A Teacher’s Perspective
Teaching a non-biased course involving politics is a difficult feat for any teacher. In this piece, we looked into how Head-Royce teachers hold a responsibility to teach all political perspectives in a safe classroom environment. Economics and math teacher Chris Davies, history teacher Mark Schneider, history teacher Paul Scott, and Computer Science and math teacher Steve Gregg all share their thoughts.
Ethan Talks to Kids
Sometimes you have to consult the experts. Senior Ethan Casslemace took a trip down to the Lower School and found six first graders who helped illuminate some of the cloudier issues in our political landscape.
A Round Table Discussion: The Evolution of Political Thought
When considering our political identities, it is crucial to explore the evolution of our own political thought. Our opinions regarding politics shift with the influences of our peers and teachers, as well as the prevailing politic views of the wider community we are all part of. I sat down with six politically engaged students (Natasha Skov, Zina Abourjeily, Paulina Knight, Karan Rai, Cris Woroch, Patrick Toppin) to discuss how their views have developed over the course of their high school years.
Breaking Down the Stereotypes
Amongst the many topics that causes separating opinions at the School, politics seems to fill the least amount of time. When my partner, Rhea and I went around asking for political opinions at the School, many students showed uneasiness and unwillingness to speak. However, when the premise was changed, volunteers stepped up at a higher rate than expected. Rhea and I asked volunteers to say the first word that came to their mind when a specific word was said to them. We said words such as Democrats, Republicans, wealth, etc. What we found was that more of the “negative” words were associated with the more conservative side.
The Red in a Sea of Blue
Focusing on the Upper School, we explored the Conservative demographic within the extensively larger Democratic community of Head Royce. In doing so, we hope to shed light on the minority faction’s experiences, expose underlying political stereotypes, and cultivate a wider awareness of and acceptance for Conservatism at the School.
The Next Step: How to Have Substantive Political Dialogue
In a predominantly liberal environment, it can often be easy to lose sight of the political views of others. In this audio piece, Lauren Quittman and Julia O’Sullivan explore the community’s perspectives on the definition of a substantive political dialogue. By poking the elephant in the room, Quittman and O’Sullivan asked the hard-hitting questions: Has the School failed at providing a balanced platform for political debate and discussion? Has diversity of thought been discouraged? What does your community really think about the political conversation here, and what can we do to improve it for our own benefit? They reached out to teachers Naoko Akiyama and Barry Barankin, as well as students (in order of appearance), Junior Luna, Claudia Wong, Nicholas Tintoc, Ben Rewis, and Olivia Lee.