Fall is an exciting time for the AP US Government and Politics class, taught by Ms. Shelley Kaplowitz. Beginning over this past summer and running through Election Day, the class created a ‘mirror’ presidential campaign. There was a ‘Clinton’ and a ‘Trump’, 2 campaign managers plotting strategy, 2 campaign teams raising ‘money’ and then using that to create posters, campaign commercials, and special campaign events promoting their candidate. Part of the project was for the US Gov’t students to explain the differences between Democrats and Republicans, and the issues that defined each party so that the entire student body would understand what was going on in the ‘real world’. This campaign culminated with 2 debates on Election Day, each for half the school at a time. Here, the ‘candidates’ had to answer a series of questions from Phoenix reporters, as well as the audience, about their policies—no easy task when you’re not the actual candidate, but have to answer what they would answer. Finally, the entire school was able to vote for the candidate of their choice.
The highlight of the project came a couple of days prior to Election Day, when the US Gov’t students were invited, thanks to the annual generosity of Steve Cohn (father of Warren, class of 2005), to a political fundraiser where the students met and talked to, Governor Cuomo, Mayor DeBlasio (who gave Flatbush a shout-out from the podium), several members of Congress, the city and state legislatures, and the most of the Brooklyn DA’s office. (including Flatbush graduate David Klestzick) This was a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and see how politics operate and to do some networking for their future.
Said Ms. Kaplowitz: “The entire project allows for the integration of the real world outside, into the curriculum that’s on the page in the students’ classrooms. No matter who wins in the Mock Election, ALL the students are winners because it makes the subject come alive for them in a way that would not be possible otherwise”.