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Monday, July 14, 2008

No surprise: they support Obama.

As I mentioned in my post of two days ago, the sophomore component of the summer course I teach at Crimson Summer Academy focuses on models of voting. Although the emphasis is primarily on applied mathematics, the 2008 course was destined to be more political than the previous summers’ versions. For the first time it was clear that voting would not be merely an academic exercise for these teens who won’t be able to vote for three more years. Ordinarily I try to avoid talking about politics with students, and in the typical math class it’s easy enough to avoid it. But in these circumstances there was no alternative but to take this as a teachable moment and embrace the students’ natural interest in the presidential race. Keep in mind that these are inner-city kids who attend public and parochial schools in Cambridge and Boston, with the largest contingent living in Dorchester and Roxbury.

So I started by polling the students about their political views. Here were the results:

0 John McCain
0Ralph Nader
25Barack Obama
4None of the above
1Prefer not to say

I guess we won’t invite McCain to speak to the class.

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