Former Florida Senator, Governor Bob Graham Will Speak at ESU

By: From 13 News, ESU, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From 13 News, ESU, Posted by Ralph Hipp

EMPORIA (WIBW) -- Reforming civics education into citizenship education is the topic as former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham speaks at Emporia State University Monday night.

Graham's Boertman Lecture will be given at 7:00, February 11th, in the KSTC Ballroom of the Memorial Union at ESU. The event is free.

Graham has long been a strong advocate of a "learn by doing" approach to citizenship education since 1974, when Florida high school teachers challenged him to teach an 18-week class of his own, which he did.

"Imagine if basketball coaches tried to teach the sport by explaining it to the players, rather than by taking them onto the court to play the game," Graham explains in his 2008 book, "America: The Owner's Manual," which he wrote along with author Chris Hand.

"Civics is being taught in just that way, and it's no surprise that citizens can't play when they step onto the court of democracy."

Bob Graham advocated the approach to citizenship education in which students work in groups to complete projects effecting policy change within the university, or at the local level. The teacher or professor teaches students the practical skills needed to identify decision makers, enlist their allies, research the topic and take other steps necessary to make these changes happen.

ESU Political Science professor Michael Smith has been teaching this curriculum and the "America" book in his Political Science 100 course for several years, with some remarkable success stories.

"I am incredibly excited to have Bob coming to Emporia State," Smith says. "His approach is the perfect blend of practical, real-world political science with the university's mission of great teaching."

A book signing will follow Bob Graham's lecture. He will spend the day visiting classes and touring the Emporia State campus. His visit is a part of the Department of Social Science's Boertman Lecture Series, endowed in honor of C. Stewart Boertman, who taught at Emporia State University for more than 40 years.

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