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Election Day: a teachable moment

Kristy Stowell brought her 1-week-old daughter to the voting booth in Londonderry, N.H., for the Republican primary election.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff/File 2012

Kristy Stowell brought her 1-week-old daughter to the voting booth in Londonderry, N.H., for the Republican primary election.

Homework: To give or not to give? Whether you support or oppose homework, on Nov. 6 the only assignment students should have is to follow the election. Watch the news. Listen to the radio. Tweet. Blog. If you’re 18 years old, vote.

From kindergarten through college, we should declare a moratorium on “regular” homework, and give every student the time and encouragement to participate in our democracy.

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In this era of high-stakes testing, teacher evaluations, and graduation rates, civic education remains on the back burner in many school districts. Notwithstanding Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s ominous remark that we have a civics crisis in America, teaching youth about justice, government, and democracy rarely rises to priority status.

Presidential elections only happen every four years, and Tuesday presents the perfect opportunity for civics to race to the top of the educational objective. Civic education develops young adults who will enter a global universe with skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and the ability to discuss difficult issues respectfully. Election Day brings civics to life, and reminds us how privileged we are to live in a country founded on principles of democracy.

Elisabeth J. Medvedow

Executive director

Discovering Justice

Boston

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