Politics, Elections, & Common Ground: Special Guests Visit AP Government Class

AP Government teacher Daniel Petri's students were among the first to take AP exams; in the two weeks that followed, his class got real-life perspectives on politics and government in action from special guest visitors: former Congressman Tom Davis (VA), Kyle Kondik (Managing Editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball), Julie Azari (FiveThirtyEight writer and Marquette professor), and Frank Luntz (GOP communications expert). 

Daniel arranged for these experts to drop in during Microsoft Teams class meetings to share their thoughts and answer questions from the class. Prior, students received bios on each guest as well as links to articles they had written or videos they had appeared in, so that students were well-versed on each guest's viewpoint.

"We’ve been able to speak with people from all different backgrounds and with different perspectives. I can tell Mr. Petri took time to find people with different political opinions, which I really appreciate," said Sarah Moore '20. "It has been a great chance to listen to what the speakers say and ask questions to gain understanding even when I might not always agree with the their opinions."

She summarized: "We started with talking to Tom Davis this past Thursday, and he was mostly interested in answering our questions and having a discussion on the media and what he thinks the future of the country might look like. On Friday, Kyle Kondik spoke to us about elections. Julia Azari gave a slideshow presentation of elections on Monday. Today, Frank Luntz asked us questions and gave us advice ranging from politics to not touching our hair too much when talking to people."

Final guest Frank Luntz encouraged students to seek out those in who share different political opinions in order to find common ground. "We need a generation who is tolerant," he said. "If I'm changing my point of view at 58, I hope you can 16, 17, 18. ... You learn so much more from people you disagree with."

Petri also developed resources for seniors around civic engagement, as they'll be able to cast their ballots as informed voters in the 2020 election this fall. 

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