If you are a child growing up in the District of Columbia, you miss out on the chance to memorize fun facts such as your state bird or your state flower.  Actually, thanks to a little quick research I found out that we, in fact, do have an official bird (the wood thrush) and an official flower (the American Beauty rose).  But the point I’m making here is that we are not a state.
The unique status of D.C. as a federal district is what we’ve been studying this spring in the third grade.  In second grade we focused on understanding how a democracy works (by way of things like a thoroughly entertaining day of dictatorship), and now we’re investigating the bizarre representative democracy loophole that is our nation’s capital.

Early on in the semester we learned that D.C. doesn’t have a voting representative in Congress.  OK—we’re now very solid on that.  We then moved on to exploring why that is, and why we’re not a state or part of a state.  It became clear that some further exploration was needed when I saw this answer to the test question, “Why is D.C. not a state?”

“Because we’re just a country.”

So we backed up a bit and established the differences between a country, a state, and a city and now I think we’re good on that front.

Celebrity Apprentice
The other day we were looking at how many representatives different states get in Congress, and by now many kids are able to name some of the states that have a large amount of representatives.  “So why does California have a lot of representatives?” I asked.  

While several of the kids in the group were able to say that this was because California has a large population, I can see how Max might have come to his conclusion about why the Eureka State should get more Congressional representation.

“Celebrities might get more rights than other people” he replied.

Yes, Max.  It sure seems like that could be true, doesn't it?


Sparkling said...

first of all, those are mighty big concepts to get in 3rd grade. i am amazed that they do well., somehow, no one ever sat me down and taught me this sort of thing. i do know that dc is not a state or a country. but i have no idea which states get which number of representatives in congress. i sometimes don't even understand what congress is! in high school, i applied for a scholarship given by the governor. i might have given myself away when i asked a friend if that governor was the governor of just our state, or some sort of "supreme governor". he said "you mean,like the president?"

oh and max isn't so far off thinking about the celebrities in california. think of how many celebrities have become politicians!!

Sarah Garb said...

It sure is complicated! We'll see what they end up getting out of this...
I love the "supreme governor" story :)

Sarah said...

This made me giggle. Yes, celebrities get more representation than the us little guys :). Have any of your kiddos voiced the unfairness of DC having no representation?

Sarah Garb said...

Oooohhh yeah. They're rather outraged. Especially during our kickoff lesson, when we voted on which table would get the special snack. Each table got between 1-3 representatives....except the D.C. table!

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