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 2016 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:
Using the link below, click on the Presidential link on the left side of the page to compare the money that was raised by the Presidential candidates in 2016. Comment on the amounts.
Click on at least 3 of the candidates names and scroll down to study the source of their funds. What did you learn from the comparisons, discussing commonalities and differences?
From the Menu button at the top right of the page, click on the Congressional elections and go to North Carolina;s races. What patterns and trends do you notice about the incumbents in these races?
When you are finished exploring the site, comment on your overall feelings about money and politics.
This week, we will start our unit on the Influences on our government. We will start this short unit on political parties. I think we all may be a bit sick of the whole mess, but alas, we must perservere! With controversies still swirling around November's election outcomes, the drama is far from over. One person who is also fed up is Bernie Sanders. Now before some of you start cutting your eyes, let me at least finish my introduction. Bernie is far from being a sore loser. On the other hand, he has come out smelling like a rose and being treated like a rock star. He gave an interview this weekend about the future of the Democratic party and the problems he perceives with the party who rejected him and the party who won the White House. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
As Milenials, do you agree with his assessment of the problems in the country? Would you want your generation to have higher taxes in the future if it meant free college tuition, better healthcare, and more income redistribution?
Does the Democratic Party need to embrace Sanders' Socialist ideas to broaden its appeal or do you think the last election was just a fluke? Explain your opinion.
The last day to post your comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 2nd.
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 last week's election and data from across the state and here in Currituck County. Here is what I would like you to do:
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 especially riled up when they would defend taxing the rich. 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 one or both of 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!
This week we will start our discussions on American political culture. We hopefully will have some lively debates and discussions this week as we end our unit on civil rights and civil liberties. You all weighed in on last week's blog concerning gender wage gap. I enjoyed the detailed comments that many of you posted and the fact that, while there was much agreement on the disclosing pay, there was much disagreement on why the gap exists. We are going to focus this week's blog on the causes of that kind of conflict: the culture war. When you read this section of the textbook, you will understand that our culture war is not about economics like it is in so many socialist nations. Our culture war is about values between orthodox and progressive beliefs. The topics that this culture war encompasses are too numerous to list, so I am going to let you choose which topic to analyze. Here is what I would like you to do this week:
We will continue our discussions on the Civil Rights Movement this week and end the week by comparing this movement to the women's movement. The debate today does not center largely on "equal political rights," but primarily on equal pay. In April, 2014 the Paycheck Fairness Act was defeated in the US Senate (again). Every single Democrat voted for it and every single Republican voted against it. Because of filibuster rules, the Democrats needed 60 votes to pass it...they fell 8 votes short. Now a new law has been passes by several Parliaments in Europe and is gaining some support here across the pond to solve the issue. So, what, if anything, do we do to solve the problem of pay inequality between me and women? Here is what I would like you to do this week:
We will conclude our chapter on civil liberties this week with a discussion of the rights of the accused and procedural due process. I just love the controversies that arise from these discussions, too. Some people prefer rights; some people prefer security and where you strike that balance is difficult even for the US Supreme Court. The ultimate punishment we give, capital punishment, has been under great scrutiny of late. During the last 2 terms, a hot debate arose over whether or not this punishment is still constitutional. The death penalty withstood these tests, but the main test survived only by the smallest margin-5 to 4. Now that the Supreme Court is sitting at an even 8 and the next President will drive the direction of the Court, rehashing this issue may put the punishment itself on the chopping block. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
I really enjoyed your comments last week on the dilemmas of immigration that face our country. I also enjoyed our debates over the four immigration options. From that debate, we will begin framing our conversations on civil liberties. We will look at what they are, how they have been defined and interpreted by the courts, and finally, who is entitled to them when rights come into conflict with other rights and American values. That last part is the tricky one. Which civil liberties should prevail when they come into conflict with all the we hold dear: Speech? Religion? Press? or Privacy? That very dilemma is at the crux of this week's blog. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below. I am also including a link to the case being discussed in the lesson.
2. Do you think the teacher went too far or is everyone over-reacting?
3. What are the dangers and what are the benefits of curtailing offensive speech and actions?
4. Explain when, if ever, you think offensive speech should be limited.
After our test is over this week on the Foundations unit, we will jump right into Civil Liberties and Civil Rights-My favorite unit! This unit offers no shortage of controversial topics to debate, that is for sure. We will start with a powder keg-IMMIGRATION. Yes, yes, that topic is surely going to get some blood boiling and veins popping out at the temples. Many proposals have been offered as to what should be done about the problem, if anything. You are going to read some controversial options this week and we will culminate the unit with a debate to end the week. The topic is now on the political "front burner" again thanks to Donald Trump (or so he thinks). I'm sure as soon as the election nears and the second debate approaches, the topic will ignite again. Below are links to two very different immigration interest groups. Explore the sites and look over their proposals.
After reading and perusing the sites, tell me your initial thoughts on the subject.
1. What should our nation's immigration policy be?
2. Which group's site is more in line with what your views are? Explain your answer.
When it comes to money, there are so many cliches that seem apropos to this week's topic that to choose one leaves me in a conundrum! I will start by saying that one of the reasons our Constitution was "born" was over the issue of money (or lack thereof). Today, the federal government has scads of money at its disposal mostly from taxes and borrowing. With all that money, everyone wants their piece...especially the states. Long gone are the days when the federal government just gave their money to the states to spend at their discretion. Today, states are increasingly more dependent on that money to cover their ballooning budgets. This week I want you to read the article below and study the data to answer the following questions:
What geographical or political trends do you see when it comes to federal money flowing into the states?
Should Federal resources be allocated to states according to how much they pay in federal taxes or should some states subsidize others?
What is the fairest way to redistribute federal resources back to the states?