Engaging Across the Aisle

Speakers and Students Discuss Health Care Reform

“We’re engaging more. We’re embracing difficult conversations. We’re respecting each other’s viewpoints,” said Head of Upper School Scott Small as he reflected on the ways the student body has grown since the heated political election last November. One obvious contributor—the newly formed Cross-Political Commission (CPC), a student-run organization created in early 2017 that facilitates civil discussion between students with differing political opinions. Mr. Small shared, “Students are taking initiative and driving these conversations, which ties directly to our mission as an institution to educate critical thinkers and compassionate leaders.”

“We’re engaging more. We’re embracing difficult conversations. We’re respecting each other’s viewpoints.”

As part of the new MICDS Cross-Political Commission, last May, the MICDS community welcomed former Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and Steve Lipstein, CEO of BJC HealthCare to campus for a health care discussion. The event was moderated by Caleb Pultman ’17 and Rose Williams ’17. Speakers shared their opinions on the current status of health care before opening it up to the audience for questions.

(From left) Henry Garside ’17, Caleb Pultman ’17, Steve Lipstein, Alexander Feldman’18, Peter Kinder, Andrew Denk ’17, Ross Danforth ’19, Bryce Berry ’19 and Rose Williams ’17

Head of School Lisa Lyle remarked, “I loved seeing our CPC student leaders moderate the evening and students (and adults) in the audience pose probing and informed questions for both speakers. This venue provided a chance for all of us to come away with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the issues around health care in America.”

A major foci of the Cross-Political Commission is to dialogue instead of debate. During the event, speakers and attendees stayed true to that commitment as they discussed pre-existing conditions, access, choice and more. “This evening was an amazing opportunity to engage in meaningful political discussions with my peers,” Pultman said. “It is important to have these conversations, and not many communities and schools are willing to open up to ideas and listen to one another.”