2013 Class Statements

IMG_9124Following the completion of the pre-Forum lesson, the classes compose class statements, an articulation of the consensus the students have reached regarding their concerns, values, and priorities for America. Class statements are submitted prior to the forum at the State Capitol. Following the forum, students will continue discussion in the classroom and then participate in a Student Ballot and ultimately frame their own “Future Five” statements. These are often framed as letters to elected officials.

The following are class statements from our 2013 Capitol Forum schools.

 

 

Auburn High School

66x66  Teacher: Bryce Roth

 

Class Statement

America’s future is riddled with the potential for international conflict, while confronting major challenges on the home front. The United States must be very cautious in addressing unstable and threatening regimes such as North Korea and Iran, and we must also realize that we need to focus more on our crippling domestic issues rather than foreign policy issues. The U.S. must finally take responsibility and work to reduce its debt, while also investing more in industrial markets that utilize green technology, as well as diversifying our energy options to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Another problem that must be addressed in the 21st Century is our approach to nuclear weapons. We believe that the nuclear arsenal of the U.S. should be greatly reduced – if we are to accomplish a reduction to nuclear proliferation. In a globalized world, we understand that we cannot rely on ourselves in the 21st Century and that we must garner allies that support trade policies that benefit us and promote economic growth.

 

Centura High School

Centhead

  Class: American Government

  Teacher: George Lytle

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

We discussed the development of U.S. foreign policy to assess America’s gradual advancement from isolationism to interventionism.  Of primary concern was the threat of terrorism, including America’s involvement in Afghanistan and the Middle East and North Korea and the development of nuclear weapons.  We also examined the relationship between international trade and its impact on world economies and the current challenges of immigration.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

The general consensus is that our economy and national security were the most important issues.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

We believe that the promotion of American values and culture is not as important as other issues.

Class Statement

We believe that the U.S. government has become too involved in trying to solve the problems of the world while neglecting the important domestic issues that trouble the nation today.  Subsequently, we feel that our government must re-examine its current policy positions to focus primarily on national security and the protection of the homeland while scaling back our economic, military, and diplomatic involvement over seas.  The use of direct military force ONLY when America’s national security is threatened will result in the reduction of military spending and, furthermore, reduces our intervention in global conflicts.  We must make the protection of U.S. industries and jobs a top priority.  Developing alternative energy resources is necessary in order to reduce American dependence on foreign oil.  In recognizing George Washington’s admonition to avoid foreign entanglements and alliances, we need to put America first.

 

Hampton High School

hawks_horizon_christian_girls_varsity_basketball_winter_12-13Teacher: Patrick Alexander

 

Class Statement           

We would like to promote democracy and equality throughout the world in leading by example rather than forcing our ideals upon other nations. This will help with cooperation among nations and reduce conflicts. We will also focus more on our own interests which will lead to a stronger economy and more opportunities.

 

Hastings Senior High School

190676_208007332558148_718646_nClass: AP European History

Teacher: Robert Kerr

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

International trade, nuclear weapons, immigration, and terrorism.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Immigration, terrorism, and nuclear weapons.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

International trade.

Class Statement

With regard to trade, the U.S. should pursue policies that promote a living wage in other nations. This would help our economy by closing the wage gap with developing nations, while raising the living standard of workers in other nations.  Terrorism is a global issue and therefore should be handled in an international manner:  through the United Nations.  The U.S. should seek to work with our allies and others under the framework of the U.N.  In order to save some money in a federal government that relies on borrowing to pay its bills, we think nuclear weapons stockpiles should be reduced to an extent.  However, the world is too dangerous to eliminate our stockpiles.  Nuclear proliferation control should focus on keeping said weapons from the hands of terrorists, rather than on nations possessing such weapons.  Finally, we think the U.S. needs to secure its borders as the first step toward a long-term policy on immigration reform.  Once secured, the we believe in basing immigration on a blend of humanitarian concerns and the needs of our economy.

 

Hemingford High School

bobcats_hemingford_boys_varsity_basketball_winter_12-13  Class:         American Government

  Teacher:    Dave Chatelain

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?  

The international issues that our class discussed were the Constitution, Immgration, International Trade and the U.S. Role in a Changing World.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Terrorism, Nuclear weapons, Trade, Environment, and Immigration

Class Statement

At Hemingford High School we believe that we should focus more on our homeland rather than foreign countries while maintaining our international trade relationships. As Nebraskans our first priority is negotiation of global trade with emphasis on industries that produce environmental friendly products. For us to lead the world in going green, we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced.

The United States, along with other countries have sustained numerous terrorist attacks.  With that as a focal point, it is the responsibility of our government to collaborate with other countries to limit attacks, foreign or domestic, while keeping a very close eye on the security of our homeland. It is also our responsibility as the world’s number one economy to upgrade our education systems, so our citizens are the best and brightest.  This goal will encourage the continued development of the free market economy and a democratic system of government that has served us so well for over two hundred years.

 

Holdrege High School

a4081a66814d3a40ee2c254d7585b452Class:         American Government ’13

Teacher:    Chad Bailey

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

We discussed all five topics of the Capitol Forum.  Immigration and Terrorism were the most interesting topics.  International Trade, Nuclear Weapons and Environment were also discussed at length.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Immigration was the top topic again this year, based on the fact we feel that Holdrege is directly affected by national and state policies.  Congress and the President are debating major changes to the Immigration policies in the United States.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

While all five topics are important, we felt that Immigration and Terrorism were the two topics that challenge our society today.

Class Statement

The American Government classes at Holdrege High School feels that all five of the Capitol Forum topics are very important, but the two topics which we feel affect us more are Immigration and Terrorism.  Immigration has an effect on our culture and society in various ways, we feel that our national government has dropped the ball on policy and would like to see a consistent and workable policy put in place.  Over the past several weeks the federal government in debating major changes to the policies.  Most of the students at Holdrege feel that we as a nation should secure our borders and concentrate on

helping our nation’s struggling citizens.  In the area of Terrorism we feel that as a school and state we do not have a high risk of a direct strike but would be greatly affected by another attack on our nation like 9/11, but we still need to protect our nation’s interests.  We need to focus on our own nation and maintain our status as a dominant nation economically.

 

Howells-Dodge Consolidated High School

safe_image.php   Teacher: Scott Polacek

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

Terrorism, war on drugs, euthanasia, human and civil rights, genocide.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Terrorism, both foreign and domestic.  Human and civil rights.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

Environment

Class Statement

We need to pick our battles.  The role of the United States is to step in when it has a direct impact on our country and people.  As citizens of the United States we must realize that every situation we are involved in will have rewards as well as repercussions.  Terrorism, for example, is a constant threat to our society and well-being, but not all threats can be eliminated.  Due to terrorism and unjust governments throughout the world, human and civil rights have been overlooked.  The United States must make a decision on each individual situation that arises. 

 

Louisville Public Schools

Lion aloneClass: Modern Problems

Teacher: Nick Bausch

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

Global environment, terrorism, international trade, immigration, nuclear proliferation

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Nuclear proliferation and terrorism

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

Immigration and international trade

Class Statement

We, the juniors and seniors of Louisville Public Schools, believe that our national security is of paramount importance. Issues such as nuclear proliferation and terrorism pose grave threats to national security. In order to make the United States safer we need to, as a people, better understand other nations, other cultures, and their struggles and issues. In addition to this, problems of such a global scope require a higher level of international cooperation to solve.

 

Norfolk Senior High

 norfolk-high-school-norfolk-neTeacher: Kathy Steinkamp

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

Environment, nuclear weapons, immigration, international trade, terrorism

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Nuclear proliferation, terrorism

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

Environment, global trade

Class Statement

We titled our statement “Operation Cooperation.”  OC includes objectives for each of the five focus areas of Capitol Forum.  Environmental issues would be addressed by promoting green technology and providing research money.  In order to end the war on terror, we must fight the root causes of terrorism around the world rather than responding to cell groups.  We believe that all nations need to reduce their nuclear stockpiles and discontinue the production  of nuclear weapons altogether.  We need to control and enhance immigration by providing simpler immigration policies combined with increased border protection and management.  In the area of trade, we favor free trade with the rest of the world, including a reduction of tariffs.

 

North Platte High School

bulldogfinal

 

Class Statement

The world is facing an increasing rate of problems and crises, from immigration to terrorism and environment to nuclear proliferation.  We want to strengthen our borders but continue to allow immigrants into the United States legally.  We will no longer support countries who endorse terroristic threats against the United States.  America will now be funding research for alternative methods of energy.  Our country contains nuclear weapons to ensure our national security and strengthen our assurance.  With America leading, we look forward to a prosperous future through interdependence with other nations.

 

 

Stanton Community Schools

mustang_largeClass: America’s Role in a Changing World

Teacher: Jacob Blum

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

 

Our class discussed immigration, terrorism, nuclear weapons, the Iraq War, international trade, and immigration.

Are there issues that you agreed are important?  If so what are they?

All the issues that we discussed in class are all of equal importance in our minds.  Every person can favor a specific issue over the other issues, but each one of these issues is extremely important to the United States today.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

No, we believe that all of the issues that we discussed in class are of equal importance.  Any person can say that one issue is more important than another but at the end of the day all of these issues are significant to the world around us.

Class Statement

The United States needs to focus on changing things throughout the world for the betterment of everybody. As the most powerful country on earth, the United States has the responsibility to play a leading role in today’s world. We also need to make sure that we protect our allies and trading partners from around the world. 

 

 

Sterling High School

mediumTeacher: Arlo Wusk

 

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

Immigration, Terrorism, World Trade, Nuclear Proliferation

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

We believe that all issues we discussed are very important to the world today.

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

No

Class Statement

As students of Sterling High School, we acknowledge that the issues we’ve discussed are all important and affect our global society equally. These issues include immigration, terrorism, world trade, and nuclear proliferation. It is important that we resolve the issues that affect our world today by learning from the past mistakes of these events. The United States has been superior to other countries for many years. We have worked together through tough times of terrorism, economic crisis, immigration policies, and nuclear threats. This allows us to be a leader and set an example for other countries to strive to meet the world’s expectations. Every nation should work together to reduce threat of terrorism and also nuclear threat. Resolving the issue of terrorism could also help with global trade. Economic structure would improve if we can successfully develop friendships with other nations.  Lastly, immigration is a difficult problem to settle. We need to set laws enforcing boundaries of nearby countries. Consequently, we rely on immigrants for cheap labor. Each of these issues has a domino effect; if we work together, gradually these issues can be solved and we can achieve a better world for the next generations to come.

 

 

West Holt High School

huskyflip2Class: Modern Problems

Teacher: Chris Nemetz

 

Class Statement

The raging war in the Middle East, the war on terror, nuclear warfare, and concerns about the environment; all these factors contribute to the potential use of WMD’s, or weapons of mass destruction. With the United States and Russia holding 28,800 of the some 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world, nuclear warfare is becoming more and more of a hot topic. However, recent talks about North Korea, Israel, and Iran have heated the debate over nuclear weapons, and nuclear proliferation. We, the students of West Holt High School, feel that weapons of mass destruction are becoming more and more of a problem in this time period. There are three options that we have discussed; eliminate nuclear weapons now, rely on Arms Control, or keep nuclear weapons as an essential part of U.S. Security. We, the students of West Holt High School, believe that the first option is utterly unrealistic. Every nation that has nuclear weapons will not shut down their operations completely. It is a huge gaping hole in every country’s national security. The second option, relying on Arms Control, we cannot put enough trust in everybody to put a limit on their nuclear warfare output. We also believe that obtaining nuclear intelligence and arms is easier, because when countries disarm, they could easily be selling them to illegal organizations. The third option, and what we support as a class, is keeping nuclear weapons as an essential part of U.S Security. With the increased attention of nuclear warfare and proliferation, we cannot afford to eliminate our own nuclear weapons for defense. We believe that we are entering a time period where nuclear warfare may become more active than ground fighting. We are the future of this country, and we believe that we need to address the topic of nuclear warfare more.

 

 

Wilcox-Hildreth

ne-newhhs-letter-150Class: Junior – American History

Teacher: Ken Meyers

What specific international issues did your class discuss?

We primarily focused on the role that the United States should be playing in the changing world. We also discussed terrorism, both legal and illegal immigration and the challenges of nuclear weapons. Couple of the students felt the United States should flex its muscles more. If the United States is the leader of the world, we need to start expressing our expectations even more.

Are there issues that you agreed are important? If so, what are they?

Not all of the class agreed to one specific issue as being the most important. We all have different views as to the reason why issues are important, e.g. farming and its impact on the environment, question who is a terrorist, just how great a threat is a nuclear Iran?, or what is the best way to deal with illegal immigration, etc..

Did you agree that some issues are less important? If so, which ones?

We feel that all issues discussed were important in someway. Therefore we felt that all issues need to be continually debated.

Class Statement

The environment is an issue that cannot be solved by radical ideals or extremist views. The government, society and special interest group must work together to find viable solutions for the many problems that impact our world. We also believe that through science and technology we can correct the negative impacts that man and technology has caused on the environment to improve the environment. We do not feel going to “green energy” is going to solve the energy crisis and save the environment. We need to control the illegal immigrants that are entering the United States by securing our borders more forcefully. At the same, we need to help the legal immigrants that are in need of jobs, but do not feel special treatment should be given to non-legal immigrant by creating a fast track to citizenship. Terrorists, or persons who use violence against other people because of religious, political, economic, or racial views, can attack anyone, anywhere, at any time. Therefore, to deal with terrorism we believe the United States must develop a policy that will include all nations. The greatest fear of nuclear proliferation will be the threat of dirty bombs being used by extremist groups and/or rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran. We believe the United Nations needs to take a more active role in dealing with rogue nations and allow the IAEA to have more power. We also feel Iran is a threat to the security in the Middle East and this threat will dramatically increase if they acquire nuclear weapons. We also believe North Korea posses an immediate threat to world stability, especially with their recent statement calling for the end of the truce that ended the Korean Police Action. The United States should instigate a free trade policy with those countries that will participate in such a policy. We believe that free trade in the long run would end up benefiting all of the countries participating. We believe the United States must continue its role as world leader. The United States needs to work with the other nations in order to meet all nations’ needs but at the same time not compromise our way of life.


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