Legislators are starting to lose their cool about ice cream cones official state ice cream cones, that is:
Farmington Senator Kevin Engler is fed up with teachers thinking it’s a good teaching idea to come up with new state symbols and have their students convince lawmakers to pass a bill for them. "These things are stupid," he has told the Senate.
He argues the legislature is not a teaching tool for fourth graders…and that it demeans itself by creating new state symbols when it should be addressing […] things of importance.
There are many other hands-on ways students can learn about state government, like researching ideas for legislation and holding mock debates in their classrooms. Nobody wants to prevent students from having fun with their first civics lessons. But if every class has to get their symbol considered, or even if only a few of children’s bills go to the General Assembly each year, the precedent puts too much pressure on kids to lobby for their bills and try to get them passed. Inevitably, kids will be disappointed when symbols are turned down or when their ideas don’t make it to the floor in the first place. Fourth-grade civics class should be a pleasant fourth-grade experience, not a win-or-lose situation.
Most importantly, as the article points out, flooding the Legislature with state symbols wastes valuable debate time and distracts legislators from the serious issues that Missourians need them to address. That was just a hypothetical concern when there were only a handful of symbols; now, legislators themselves are complaining about the annoyance. Let’s respect them and find other ways to teach kids.
We already have 24 state symbols. Enough is enough.