Rokita comments on South Putnam visit
To the Editor:
Thank you for the story about my visit to South Putnam High School last week. During my time in public service, I've had the opportunity to visit about 100 schools around the state, country, and even overseas, all in my official capacity. I greatly enjoyed last week's visit.
I learned a lot and I believe a majority of the students enjoyed it, while laughing and learning as well. It's the reason I take the time to do such events.
Many of your readers already know from visiting with me in person, or watching interviews in which I am the subject, that I answer questions honestly and directly. In fact, it's hard to find someone who, after hearing me, doesn't know exactly where I stand on a given issue. According to your report, a few students disagreed.
My guess is that those who were unsatisfied really just didn't like the answer they were given. I hope one of the lessons taken away from the visit is that just because you don't hear the answer you like or expect, doesn't mean you didn't get a valuable answer.
Also, according to the report, some of the same students did not appreciate the Socratic methodology I use or the speed at which I use it to do what their teachers surely do with them: Challenge them to think critically.
As I do at all such events, I focused my non-partisan remarks solely on the policies of the national debt and the U.S. Constitution, and I do indeed expect students to be specific, defend their preconceived notions, and confirm that they can digest and adapt conclusions to new information. If that is new to some, they can count on it to help prepare them to successfully navigate a challenging world.
Several of the comments and questions were very political and not driven by me, but I was happy to offer my opinion on anything the students brought up, subject to the style and frankness described above.
We truly have great promise in the next generation. My goal is to leave them with a nation better than we received it.
Even if some may not find my comments politically correct, I will never mince words about the work we all must do to achieve that goal.