A group of Marshalltown High School students took their learning about government to a whole new level Thursday - all the way to Washington D.C.
Students in the Contemporary Social Issues class of Kelley Dickey took part in the video conferencing website Skype and talked to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who was in his office in the nation's capital. The students were gathered in the MHS library.
Dickey said they were studying the national debt and she sent an email to Grassley's office wondering if he could speak about it to her class. Since he is in session his staff suggested a Skype session and they lined up a time.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Students in a Contemporary Social Issues class at Marshalltown High School did a video conferencing session Thursday with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa in the school’s library. The students talked about the national debt and other federal issues while Grassley answered their questions from his office in Washington D.C.
"The purpose of this is us to have dialogue in the spirit of representative government," Grassley said at the opening of the conversation.
Several students asked Grassley questions about the national debt, taxes, social security, Medicare and the budget.
Grassley was asked about budget cuts to help relieve the tax burden on the middle class and agreed something must be done.
"If we don't do something before the end of next year we are going to have the biggest tax increase in the history of this country," Grassley said.
One student also asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests going on across the country.
"They've got a constitutional right to do it, but they don't have a constitutional right to destroy property," Grassley said of the protesters.
Dickey, who is in her first year teaching social studies at MHS, was pleased with how her students represented themselves as they interacted with the senator.
"I think they really hit those key issues," Dickey said.
It has been a busy week for MHS students learning about the legislative process as the senior class participated in town hall forum Tuesday with Gov. Terry Branstad.
Dickey said one of her goals for this project would be getting her students to feel like they can have an impact on government.
"This will allow them to get their voices heard," she said.