Barrow and Copenhaver talk civic engagement with students

Congressman John Barrow (above left) and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver visited Dr. Drew Kemp’s Place-Based Education class to talk to students and answer their questions. Photo gallery follows story.

AUGUSTA, GA. – The Georgia Regents University College of Education hosted Congressman John Barrow (D-Ga.), 12th Congressional District, Director Lynthia Ross Owens (B.A., ‘03; M.A., ‘06) and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver (B.A., ’92) for a discussion on engaging students in civic activities.

Dr. Drew Kemp, Assistant Professor of Education, invited Barrow, Ross Owens and Copenhaver to his Place-Based Education (EDTD 6950) class. The class connects students with local cultural, historic and civic opportunities, using them as a foundation for studying subjects across the curriculum. Place-based education also emphasizes learning through participation in service learning projects.

“Guest professionals like Rep. Barrow and Mayor Copenhaver offer practical support for ideas in the curriculum,” Kemp said.  “Too often we study subjects like government, economics, and the social sciences without context.  Speaking to community state, and national leaders allows teachers to better understand and contextualize textbook content through their communities.”

Barrow and Ross Owens pitched ideas for engagement for elementary, middle, and high school students to the current and pre-service educators who are enrolled in the class, which included in-class exercises, off-campus field trips, guest speakers in the classroom, distance-learning options and participation in Barrow’s Bookworms.

“Any time you can get students out of the classroom for a hands-on experience, they get excited,” Ross Owens said. “And if that’s not possible through budget constraints or scheduling, you might consider digital options, like SKYPE tours.”

Barrow then fielded a series of no-holds-barred questions from students, who quizzed him on federal oversight of education standards, student loan interest rates, teacher reimbursement for advanced degrees, recent use of the War Powers Act, Barrow’s campaign messaging on gun laws and creating consensus between local and federal representatives.

Copenhaver talked about civic pride, positivity in politics, opportunities for participation in local government and community organizations, access to government services, his future career plans and his perspectives on growing Augusta and Georgia Regents University, including ideas for the historic mills along the Augusta Canal.

“The university and the city need to partner together for future expansion,” Copenhaver said.


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