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Shutdown A Teachable Moment At Some Schools


Casey Whalen is a teacher at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove. She teaches government to kids who are 16 and 17 years old, and this week's lessen plan includes the shutdown.

"They are a lot more interested than they get credited for."

Whalen says interest grows when students learn of the real world affects, especially on people they know. 

"A teacher who was due to get married at Glacier National Park next week is no longer going to be able to. So that's actually kind of been their biggest working piece of information with this."

And students find it comical, says Whalen, that lawmakers in Washington are behaving the way many of them would, like kids. Whalen says since her students see that post offices are still open and the military is still operating, it's hard for them to understand the real world affects of the shutdown.

"For them to see the value of the budget and how the budget is a big piece of this shutdown again they don't really see the link to the funding so we've had to go through and really talk about what are the different areas that the government funds."

While the shutdown is a teachable moment in classroom's like Whalen's, it hasn't affected lunch rooms yet. Most federally funded school lunch and breakfast programs are expected to continue serving meals in the short run.


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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