The lessons are as close as a radio, newspaper, television, or computer when the curriculum includes this year’s presidential campaign. The answers are usually not right or wrong. “Teachers aren’t grading on the position that students take, in terms of whether they are in favor of the Republican or Democratic candidate,” says Dean Cantu, executive director of the Illinois Council for the Social Studies. “What they’re doing is asking students to view (for example) the debate and to identify issues that are brought up … and oftentimes to do fact checking.”
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Cantu, who is also chairman of the Department of Teacher Education at Bradley University in Peoria, says the lessons do not have to be confined to current events; history classes can learn about previous campaigns and debates, and sociology courses can explore such campaign themes as immigration and health care.