• Week 22: The Legislative Process

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 2/7/2016 2:15:00 PM
    This week will study and actively participate in the legislative process. Writing bills is just the start of the arduous process that rarely sees a bill to fruition. I can hardly wait to see the outcomes for our class bills. One factor that often determines success in the legislative process is Presidential support. The divded government we currently have has not stopped all legislation from being enacted, but has stopped the most controversial from being enacted courtesy of the President's veto tool.  I am very excited about the site you are examining this week. I have spent WAY TOO MUCH time today scouring the site. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
    1. Study the legislative productivity chart in the first link below. Then, come back here and note at least one trend you noticed or conclusion you made.
    2. Next, click on the second link below (or you can click the hyperlink in the chart under laws enacted). Study one of the bills that actually passed.
    3. Come back here and explain ALL of the following for the law you studied: 
    • What was the Name & GIST of the law enacted?
    • In which house did it originate?
    • Who was the sponsor?
    • Name at least 1 committee or subcommittee that studied it.
    • Which house had the closer vote?

    Once a classmate "reports" on a bill, it is off-limits for the rest of the class. Since there are 118, I do not worry you will find a bill to study. 

    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 12th.
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  • Week 21: Pork Barrel Projects

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 1/31/2016 2:00:00 PM
     Pork Barrel
    This week we will build on our discussions about delegate representation and dig into to the legislative process by the end of this week! One of the most difficult parts of the unit on Congress is the vocabulary: Filibuster, cloture, gerrymandering, pigeonholing, pork barrel projects, earmarks, logrolling--OH MY! Congressional rules make it easy to slip items in the budget, especially in the Senate, that when scrutinized, seem frivolous. This week will will study earmarks and pork barrel projects in the budget. Here is what I would like you to do:
    1. Go to the site below and choose a category to study.
    2. Read one article under the category you choose.
    3. Come back here and "report" what you learned about these wasteful projects:
       A. What was the project? Describe it!
       B. Who was responsible for the project? (Name names!) 
       C. Who did the project help?
       D. How much did the project cost?
    4. Why do you think these projects pass in the first place? 
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, February 5th. 
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  • Week 20: Your Congressman

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 1/24/2016 3:00:00 PM
    Walter Jones, Jr. Do you recognize this guy? Well, hopefully by the end of the week, you will! I want you all to learn about our "safe" Representative, Walter B. Jones, Jr. He is currently serving his 11th term as NC's US District 3 Congressman. Rep. Jones caught some heat for voting against Speaker John Boehner, but triumphed as a trend-setter when Boehner bowed out last year. He remains a staunch Republican in a very red district in a fairly red state. To familiarize yourself with Representative Jones this week, here is what I would like you to do:
    Go to Representative Jones' Website and research who he is, what he does and what his beliefs and values are. Be sure that you do research under at least three tabs. Come back here and explain what three things you learned about your Representative and how you feel about those insights. 
    The last day to post comments for full credit is midnight on Friday, January 29th. 
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  • Week 19: Congress

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 1/17/2016 4:00:00 PM

    As we begin your final semester of high school, we do so with our most challenging chapter yet.  For the next 3-4 weeks we will explore "the first branch" of our government, The Congress.  The Framers intended this to be the most powerful and dominant branch and in many ways, it still is.  The primary function of Congress is to make laws for the US.  Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  Well, in a year of heated elections like 2016, legislation is not easy, or likely.  The divide between the GOP-controlled House and the Democratically-controlled White House for the last 4 years has seemed as wide as the ocean at times. With the 114th Congress under new leadership now, we have a totally Republican-controlled Congress staring down a lame duck President. The two parties seem so polarized that every issue becomes a debate. Here is what I would like you to do this week. Read the article below. Then, respond to each of the following questions:

    1. Do you think our government is so polarized that it is "broken?" Why or why not?
    2. Which branch do you think has the upper hand this year, Congress or the President? Why?
    3. How do you think this election year will impact this session of Congress? Explain your answer.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, January 22nd. 
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  • Week 17: Semester Assessment

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 1/3/2016 7:00:00 AM

    As the new year begins, I know you are all welcoming the year of your high school graduation. When Friday comes and goes, you will have responded to 22 blogs, taken 5 unit tests, turned in 5 projects and completed 12 chapters in the textbook. Don't be lulled into thinking the course is winding down, though. In fact, the course is about to hit its biggest concepts in the coming quarter. So, take exam week off to rest and relax, because quarter 3 has its stresses and rewards breathing down your necks. Here is what I would like you to do this week:

    1. What suggestions do you have for me to improve the course without compromising the rigor, content, or requirements for the course? Many of the key details of this class have come from this very post in the previous years!
    2. What has this course taught you about yourself and your study habits? Focus not just on negative things here, but positives as well!
    3. What has this class taught you about your classmates? Does that frighten or excite you with the 2016 Presidential elections?

    The last day to post a comment for full credit for this blog is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 8th.

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  • Week 16: The Media

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 12/13/2015 6:00:00 PM
    This week we will complete our unit on influencing government by exploring the role of the media.  The Media has been called the "fourth branch of government" due to its enormous impact. Today the media is available 24-7 worldwide via the Internet. Even remote, small-town newspapers are still widely read. Americans can be informed on any event at any time nearly anywhere. Well, that is except in what happens at the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is hallowed ground and cameras are strictly forbidden. Today, oral arguments are audio recorded and available on the web just hours after a case is heard. But, should the High Court allow cameras to video tape proceedings or would this change the dynamics of the proceedings? Read the article below the come back here and answer the following questions.
    1. Read this article: Cameras in the Supreme Court?
    2. Explain how you think the SCOTUS might benefit from cameras in the courtroom.
    3.What negatives may come out of televising these cases?
    4. Which side do you most agree with and why? 
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, December 18th. 
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  • Week 15: Money & Politics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 12/6/2015 5:05:00 PM
    Bob Dylan once said, "Money doesn't just talk, it swears." Money and politics have always left Americans a bit skeptical. No one wants to believe that someone else's vote counts more than theirs simply because that other person has money.  The sad reality is that it does take MILLIONS of dollars to be President.  The old adage that "Anyone can be President" is simply not true.  This week you will be looking at the 2012 Presidential race, the current Presidential race and the money raised by the candidates.  The site you will be exploring is maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.  Here is what I would like you to do once you go to the site via the link below:
    1. Using the link below, compare the money that was raised by the Presidential candidates in 2012.  Comment on the amounts.
    2. Click on the tab at the left for the 2016 Election.  Look at all the candidates. What did you learn from the comparisons?  
    3. How do you think the 2016 election will stack up compared to the 2012 elections? What forms the basis of your opinion?
    4. When you are finished exploring the site, comment on your overall feelings about money and politics.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 11th.  
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  • Week 14: Party Politics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/29/2015 3:00:00 PM
    This week, I am going to have you read an article that I read more than a year ago. I found the article fascinating, although a bit over the top with its generalities, and I thought the graphics were even more interesting than the article. We will look at influences on the political process in this unit. We will study political parties, elections, interest groups and the media and the impact they each have. It will be a brief, whirlwind unit that I will wrap up before Christmas. We will jump right in with political parties. The red/blue states will be easy for you to understand with the current election rhetoric in high gear as we head toward 2016. So here is what I want you to do this week:
    1. Read the article & and especially study the graphs with the following article: The Growing Blue State Diaspora
    2. We know that NC elected Republican Senator Thom Tillis and that the Republicans reclaimed the US Senate in 2014. Is the article's assumption that "liberals moving South will impact the electoral outcomes" wrong? Explain your position.
    3. What surprised or shocked you most about the graphs? Comment on at least 2 trends or patterns you noticed.
    4. If these trends and assumptions remain true, can a Republican possibly win the Presidency in 2016? Explain your view.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, December 4th. 
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  • Week 13: Voting Demographics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/15/2015 3:00:00 PM
    I really enjoyed your personal stories and insight about your political views & socialization last week. While some of you posted that you don't talk politics at home, I hope you will take time to "pick your parents' brains" and have some lively discussions with them, especially your mothers! Ideology can be shaped by so many factors. How can siblings be so different? Will college change your ideology? Do people choose careers because of ideology or does your career dictate your ideology? Great questions no doubt. This week, I want you to check out some statistics from the November election here in Currituck County. Here is what I would like you to do:
    2. Come back and analyze that data relating to voting habits, trends or demographics.
    3. What did you learn? What surprises you? What concerns you?
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 20th.
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  • Week 12: Political Ideology & Socialization

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/8/2015
    We will continue our unit on political participation this week with an in-depth study of political socialization and what influences our political ideology and behavior. Two factors we will discuss are how your family and education shape your thinking and thus, your voting behavior. I am going to share two stories with you to illustrate these factors.
    When my oldest son was about twelve, he was solidly convinced that he is a Republican. How did this happen? Well, at the Jarvis dinner table we often talk politics and issues. One night, Tucker asked his father (not his social studies teaching mother), "What is the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, Dad?" Without missing a beat, my husband says, "Well, suppose you were given $20. Would you rather spend it yourself or have me tell you how to spend it?" Tucker looked a little confused, but said, "I want to spend it myself." Steve announced to him, "Well, then you are a Republican because Democrats always think they know better than anyone else how to spend everyone else's money." Tucker seems to be solidly in the "RED" camp for now.
    Now for my second story. About 10 years ago we had a teacher at Currituck High named Mr. K. He was and still is a staunch Republican. He taught a class called Current Issues. This was a very popular class because Mr. K knew his stuff and loved to debate with his liberal students about anything and everything. He would get so riled up when they would defend taxing the rich even more. So, he devised a diabolical plan. To convince his students that income redistribution was wrong, he began a program called "grade redistribution." The plan worked like this: Students who made 93 or higher would lose 3 points from their grade and these points would be added to the students' scores that were the lowest. Students who made between 85-92 would lose 2 points that would also be added to those students who made low scores. Now, I really don't think I need to tell you much more except that his plan did indeed cause a huge uproar; but more importantly he illustrated his point without ever implementing it.
    So, here is what I want you to do this week. First, take the two ideology quizzes below. Tell me what you found out about your ideology from these quizzes.Then it is your turn to analyze what factors have shaped that ideology. Tell me a story about how someone, some event, or some conversation has shaped your political beliefs. I can't wait to hear the stories!
    http://www.nolanchart.com/survey-php Great, in depth survey of 10 questions.
    http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_is_your_political_ideology Great choices that are sometimes frustrating!
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, November 13th!
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