Timothy Hatcher hopes that students who complete his American government class will be equipped to be informed voters someday.
Hatcher, who co-teaches the freshman government class at Brunswick High School, covers the U.S. Constitution with his students. He pairs that teaching frequently with a supplemental discussion on news from The Brunswick News.
No matter the lesson of the day, Hatcher can usually find an article in the local newspaper that touches on the topic.
“When we were in the legislative branch, article one of the Constitution, our newspaper had an article about what Congress was doing, or not doing,” Hatcher said. “And then when we talked about the president … our newspaper had an article about the office of our president.”
The discussion on a recent school day centered on local taxes and the SPLOST, or special purpose local option sales tax, in Glynn County.
“I want you to read this article about how the county is using our SPLOST funds,” Hatcher explained, as he handed out copies of the newspaper. His classroom receives free copies twice a week, through the Newspaper in Education program, which is free for local educators.
He went on to explain how SPLOST approval works and how much Glynn County shoppers are taxed on every purchase.
“I’m doing this because I want you guys to understand what it means,” Hatcher said.
Hatcher asked the class to write a well-structured paragraph on whether they feel the county is properly using the money collected through the SPLOST. The students were to reference an article that included updates on the local SPLOST projects that ran recently in The Brunswick News.
After the assignment had been graded, Hatcher said the class would return to their discussion about local taxes.
“I wanted six to 10 well-constructed sentences on whether or not they think Brunswick is using the SPLOST in a good way or not. Are they wasting the money, or are they putting it to good use?” Hatcher said. “What I try to do is get the kids to think.”
The newspaper localizes the education the students receive in their government class, and Hatcher said he can rely on The Brunswick News to include the content he needs.
“All I want to do is give them the information they need. Our newspaper has been a great help,” he said. “All I want is for these young men and women to have the ability to make good decisions, not just about their own lives but about their government.”