Ballot Measures Turn Into Class Project
Students at New Tech High learned the importance of being an informed voter
It’s something we’ve been hearing for a month now, people urging others to take part in their civic duty and vote.
But with multiple ballot measures, some that are a bit confusing, this task requires more than just filling out a ballot; it requires doing some homework beforehand.
One local government teacher took advantage of this.
“We looked at the ballot and I said how many can know for sure which way you want to vote, and they couldn’t,” says New Technology High School government teacher Scott Sorenson.
So Mr. Sorenson took the 10 ballot measures and split his class, made up of juniors and seniors, into 10 groups.
“Constitutional Amendment T is the initiative to bring commission of 9 people instead of the 105 representatives that South Dakota has for districting boarders,” explains junior Ethan Arneson.
After doing a weeks’ worth of research, Mr. Sorenson’s students are now informing others on the issues.
“I like to throw a lot of questions at them,” says Kristie Hall. Hall has a son in the government class. “They answer with such professionalism. For students to have that knowledge and to be able to know where to look and how to present it and what they’re talking about has been really fun to watch.”
While two thirds of the students in the class won’t be able to vote this election, Mr. Sorenson is hoping when they will be able to, they’ll continue to do the work.
“I tell my students all the time, even though the president and the congress gets all the attention, the closer the government gets to you, the more it impacts you,” says Mr. Sorenson.
And that message has been heard.
“There’s way more I need to be knowledgeable of going into a ballot, I need to know more about what’s going on in the state and general and just in the country itself,” says Arneson.
Arneson says before this project, he didn’t know that South Dakotans voted on more than the president and state representatives.
But now, he’s excited to see Tuesday night’s ballot measures results.