March 26, 2014

Governor makes time to impress young minds

A civics lesson on how state government functions may not be on the top of many students’ list of favorite subjects, but when the guest teacher is the governor, the kids pay attention.

That is what happened on Monday when Gov. Nathan Deal addressed third-graders at City Park Elementary School. Although Deal wasn’t there in person — he spoke via a video conference — it was enough to make a good impression.

Deal answered questions the students had sent to him, giving them a lesson on the structure of state government and his role as governor.

The governor stressed that a lot of his power comes from his ability to appoint people to oversee agencies and boards, from the Board of Regents to various licensing boards that deal with so many jobs and professions.

From all indications, the response from the students was very positive and they took his advice about the importance of reading seriously.

Now some may say that, this being an election year, Deal was just politicking and getting exposure. And he was pointedly doing it in the backyard of one of his Republican primary opponents, former Dalton mayor David Pennington.

And, if re-elected, will Deal make similar appearances in his second and final term? Time will tell.

But the fact that the state’s highest officeholder set aside time to communicate with these young students is to be applauded. And perhaps they’ll remember the important lessons he imparted, which at least one teacher commented on.

Students are more likely to absorb information and retain it when they learn it from “the real person,” teacher Lisa Cushman said.

Maybe down the road one of these third-graders will become governor and he or she will remember this lesson and repeat it in a future classroom.

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