When discussing "The Choice '96" in class, it is important to test the program's assumptions for the next generation of voters-today's high school students. In a world where one urban shopping mall looks like all the others, will region continue to shape American politicians distinctively? With church attendance declining, will religion still determine a leader's moral values? Are today's young people too sophisticated about television's tricks to be taken in by image politics? Will changes in the workplace insure that "power couples" like the Doles and the Clintons are more appealing in the future than they are today? These are tomorrow's questions and so they should be emphasized when discussing the film with tomorrow's voters.
Before the class views the film, the teacher might conduct a poll of students' attitudes toward the candidates and issues of Campaign '96. Subsequent class discussion might focus on why students feel as they do.
Have students watch the film, pausing after each main section so they can take notes. Students should then compare their earlier attitudes with their current feelings. Does having in-depth biographical information about the candidates make a difference in students' perceptions?
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Funding for this educational guide is provided by PBS, PBS Video, and The Democracy Project. It was created by educational consultant Simone Bloom Nathan, Ed.M., with Anne F. Kaplan and Jim Bracciale and Eileen Walsh of FRONTLINE's communications staff. The writers are Dr. Roderick P. Hart and Vidula Bal with input from the Outreach Advisory Board: Governor Michael Dukakis, Ricki Seidman, executive director of Rock the Vote, Les Gottardi, coordinator of Local Education Services at WQED/Pittsburgh, and high school teacher Dr. Carleton Young. The designers are Dennis O'Reilly and Christopher Moisan. Photography by: Front cover-Julie Nestingen, top, left; AP/Wide World, Steve Barrett/Contact Press Images, Julie Nestingen, right, top to bottom. Activities page-Porter Gifford/Gamma Liaison, top; Cynthia Johnson/Gamma Liaison, bottom. Back cover-John Ficara/Sygma, top and bottom.
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