How many U. S. citizens are familiar with term “federalism” encompassing all its aspects? It’s actually the division of powers between federal (the nation) and state governments. State law exists in parallel with and at times in conflict with U. S. federal law. According to American Government teacher, Denise Jackson, federalism is probably the most complicated component of our constitution.  So, if this concept is difficult for adults, imagine how perplexing it can be for high school students.

To help her dual credit class get a better grip on how this part of our government works, Ms. Jackson created a lesson on state and local governments. Invited to this course was guest speaker, Senator A. Shane Massey, who is quite knowledgeable about federalism. On September 24, Mr. Massey took about ninety minutes out of his busy day to acquaint the students about the pros and cons of federalism.  Her class actually feared the period would be full of government babble; talk that would be abstract and muddy. However, they were pleasantly surprised at how down to earth and on their level Sen. Massey’s instruction flowed.

Many students remarked about several conflicts they had observed. For instance, senior, Tucker Bledsoe, brought up how, under President Trump’s administration, marijuana is illegal, yet eight states have approved it for medical and recreational use. How does that align? Sen. Massey and students alike ran the gamut of controversies occurring around the nation which created some lively debates!  Students learned that states can lose control and power over certain issues when they receive millions of dollars from the federal government. Students were then expected to write a reflection paper analyzing their perceptions on this thought provoking class. Sen. Massey is expected to come back soon to speak on the senate majority.