Educators: Events surrounding Trump should be discussed

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Many educators say that the reason history is studied is to ensure that it is not repeated.

With some comparing recent events with President Donald Trump and Russia to the events that led to the fall of the Nixon administration, educators say that it is important to discuss these recent events in the classroom.

Rutgers' Eagleton Institute of Politics professor Dr. Elizabeth Matto says that anything coming out of Washington lately is not just historic, it’s also teachable.

“With each of these decisions that are being made, each new revelation from Washington, D.C., it offers a chance to be teaching the realities of politics,” Matto says.

She says that educators can discuss what the president is doing, as well as how members of Congress are reacting.

“Why are some members of Congress speaking out? Why are some not speaking out? What are factors that are influencing their decisions when it comes to reacting to the Trump presidency,” she says.

Matto says that it is necessary to educate young people on current political events.  She says that it is especially important with comparisons being made between the Trump administration and the Nixon era to teach how current events relate to past events.

“U.S. history is being taught very well extensively in New Jersey and beyond.  Often we are not making those links…between incidents that have taken place throughout American history and linking them to contemporary American politics,” she says.

Matto says that teaching politics in the classroom can be done in a nonpartisan way.

“There’s a lot of research out there about how to focus on evidence-based best practices for teaching controversial topics,” says Matto.

The professor says that she thinks this type of education should begin in middle school. She promotes civics lessons as not only a way to inform young people, but also a way to get them more involved.

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