By Danni Mancusi-Shreve
“In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke, Irish politician, philosopher, and supporter of the American Revolution.
Apathy is a plague fed by the disconnection between our society and its ruling bodies. One way to combat this is rapidly approaching on March 11th, Adult Education Day at the Statehouse. This once in a lifetime opportunity will be enriching and engaging for students, educators, and volunteers. This experience will open students’ minds to the lush history of our state, exemplify the machinations of leadership and demystify the workings of our state government. March 11th’s Adult Education Day will expose students to the legislative process.
Last year’s event yielded the chance to meet Governor Pence, observe democracy in action, and get in touch with history in the making. The chance to see the topics read about in social studies and history in action can captivate the least interested student. Students were treated to a tour of the Statehouse which included a visit to the Senate Chambers and we observed a rare behind the scenes view of how the chandelier’s light bulbs are changed.
I suggest a review of upcoming legislation in preparation for Legislative Day. Please note, the first two weeks of March are earmarked for the House and Senate to meet and clarify details and sort out any differences between their versions of bills. Some pending bills you may want to look over and discuss are HB 1028, HB 1064, SB 159, and SB 330. (Bills for the 2014 session can be found here.)
The event starts at 10 am EST in the North Atrium of the Statehouse with roundtable discussions. The proclamation will be read at 10:30, and a guided tour of the historic building will start at 11. Representatives of IAACE, ILA, and DWD will be there. IAACE and ILA members and adult educators are encouraged invite their legislators to the event and share information about their programs.
Adult learners can be engaged in classroom activities to write letters or postcard invitations to legislators and attend as a field trip experience. You can find the tool for locating your legislators’ contact info here, as well as an invitation template and regional level maps with county statistics for the percentage of adults without a high school diploma for sharing. This would also be a great time to visit museums and the Indy Reads bookstore, and all attendees will receive a $5 gift certificate from Indy Reads Books! Last year, a group of students had their picture taken with the Governor in his office.
If you plan to attend, please RSVP here, where you can also find more details about this great event!