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Conference explores teaching about the upcoming elections

September 16, 2008

More than 180 elementary, middle and high school teachers, and teacher-education students from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and other campuses, are expected to gather in Madison on Saturday, Sept. 20, for a daylong workshop on teaching about the upcoming elections.

The workshop — “What’s at Stake in Election 2008?” — is designed to enhance teachers’ understanding of major election issues and how to teach about them in K-12 classrooms. It will be held at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St. on the UW–Madison campus, from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and is co-sponsored by the UW–Madison School of Education, Wisconsin Education Association Council, and Madison Metropolitan School District.

In the keynote address, Peter Levine, executive director of the Center for Information and Research in Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), will analyze what causes young people to become politically and civically engaged. Levine is author of “The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens” (Tufts University Press, 2007).

Session topics and presenters include:

  • Blogs, markets and simulation games: Emerging media and the election, Kurt Squire, UW–Madison associate professor of educational communications and technology.
  • Reforming the presidential selection process, David Canon, UW–Madison professor of political science.
  • Comparing the candidates: Key policy positions of McCain and Obama, Howard Schweber, UW–Madison associate professor of political science.
  • Election connections: Shaping democracy through literacy in K-3 classrooms, Dawnene Hassett, UW–Madison assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and Beth Wambold, first/second grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, Madison.
  • Immigration reform: What makes sense? Carolyn Pereira, executive director, and Dee Runaas, high school programs director, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago.
  • Student Voices and Annenberg classroom: Tools for lasting civic education, Ron Nirenberg, The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Kids Voting USA — a community commitment to democracy, Mark Munson and Mike Otten, Kids Voting Wisconsin.
  • Creating “fair and balanced” discussions of controversial election issues, Diana Hess, UW–Madison professor of curriculum and instruction, and Paula McAvoy, Ph.D. student in curriculum and instruction.

For more information and to arrange media access/interviews, contact Diana Hess, by email to or by phone at (608) 234-0826.

Tags: education, events