VERSAILLES — Seth Rinderle is a government student and junior at Versailles High School.
He was in charge of the lights and sound for an assembly, featuring speaker state Representative Keith Faber (84th District), Tuesday, at Versailles High School Auditorium. The process involved special training that Rinderle receives as a member of the Versailles Light and Stage Crew. He said Faber’s visit was important.
“While he is here we can ask him questions that involve our concerns, that he may not otherwise notice are important to us” Rinderle said. “Our concerns may not necessarily be top priority for those people in Columbus. This is a way for our voices to be heard.”
Versailles High School U.S. Government Teacher John Jackson said the visit with Faber was timely, as the junior students take government.
“The junior student’s average age is between 16 and 18,” Jackson said. “You are talking about young people who are directly affected by government. They have their driver license, are starting to get jobs and are going to be voting soon. We are giving them information that empowers voters with knowledge, versus just going in and doing a blind vote or abstaining from voting. This is to get students involved in their government, and to explain to them the legislative branch and its importance.”
An introduction of Faber by Jackson, included highlights of Faber’s history in government.
“During his tenure as Senate President, more than 90 percent of the bills passed in the 129th and and 130th general assemblies were all bi-partisan,” Jackson said. “Since 2011, more than 430,000 new jobs have been created and taxes have been cut by nearly $5 billion dollars, allowing Ohioans to keep more of their hard earned dollars, to choose how they spend and invest.”
Faber opened by praising the Versailles community and schools.
“I love this community,” he said. “I have had the pleasure of representing Versailles and Darke county for 17 years, in one capacity or another. This is one of the communities, in Ohio, that makes it a priority to bring all of their fourth graders to the state house every year. That is such an important goal, and I encourage all school districts to bring their students down there. My hat’s off to the community and the schools for making that a priority.”
According to Faber, the purpose of his visit to the high school was two fold: to get everyone empowered to have the information of the workings of the legislature and government, and to motivate people to participate.
“Young people are trying to figure out how the world works and how they are going to fit into it,” Faber said. “It is good that they have first hand exposure to legislators and people who are representing them. We always talk about the fundamental core values of citizenship. We want everyone to vote, everyone to be willing to serve on juries and we want everybody to put service above self. If people do those things and start early, those become lifelong habits.”
After Faber spoke, he opened the floor to the students for questions. Some of those included: the consideration of the agriculture industry; gerrymandering; and if the results of standardized testing accurately portray the abilities of the students.
“The short answer is, we should not use standardized testing as the end all be all, but I think it can be helpful in determining whether or not institutions are meeting various requirements, and whether we are seeing improvement,” Faber said. “One of the measures they use is the level of improvement. That is an important score. The problem is, everyone is probably not starting at the same place, due to socioeconomic and many other factors. The quick answer is, it depends on what I am trying to measure, and what I am trying to look at.”
“The most important thing we can do as a legislators, is help make government work better for its constituents,” Faber added. “That is something I am pretty proud of.”
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