David Richmond is the Department Chair of the Social Studies Department at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif.
My first contact with political science was Watergate and I was 13 years old and I wanted to be outside and my mother made me sit in the house in the summer of 1974 and watched those hearings because she was very politically active and very involved. And so she was going, through those hearings, teach me about what America was about and although — you know as a thirteen year old I don’t know if that’s stuck — by the time I got to college, it was something that I had a deep passion for.
I got in on the ground floor the very first year that the center for civic ed in Congress created the “We The People” program and the reason I like it so much is because it does exactly what schools and a government class should be doing. It asks kids to formulate opinions about the society that they live in. It asks them to work as a team and to shed their egos at the classroom door and work together to develop, in some way, some original thought using the ideas of the government. Those are all skills that they’re gonna need whatever profession that they choose their going to need to be able to articulate ideas. They are going to need to be able to research which is what the We The People program asks of them. They’re going to need to be able to work with groups of people. They have a charisma that comes with knowledge and confidence out of this program.
You know it doesn’t matter if they’re going to be a businessperson, if they’re going to be an educator, if they’re going to be working in a laboratory. They is still have to understand the politics of American society because all things are politics.
Photo Source: Centennial High School
The video clip above was taken from Career Encounters: Political Science which APSA released in 2000. The documentary-style video features people from across the US who studied political science and discuss how their political science backgrounds have been critical to their vocations, their avocations, and their general lives. Career Encounters feature careers that can be launched with undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees.