I really enjoyed your personal stories and insight about political socialization last week. While many 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. 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 last election 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 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 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.
Now, it is your turn. 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!
The last day to post a story for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 22nd.
As we start detailed discussions this week on our political culture, we will have some lively discussions I hope. You have nearly all weighed in on last week's conflict concerning security versus rights. I enjoyed the detailed comments that many of you posted. We are going to focus this week's blog on a different 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:
This week we will wrap up our unit on civil liberties and civil rights. Now that you all have a great understanding of your basic rights, how they have been interpreted, and many of the issues that encompass these interpretations, we will look at the political culture of the United States. To begin the unit we will explore how and why our values are often in conflict. The conflicts are numerous: Public Assistance versus Individual Initiative; Freedom versus Tradition; Equality of Opportunity versus Equality of Results, etc. This biggest conflict, however, always seems to be
Security versus Rights
Can we ever really have both? This week, we may actually have a great deal of agreement on our topic. Ever since Edward Snowden blew a hole in the secrecy of the National Security Agency, the allegations just keep coming. Not only has the NSA been spying on Americans and our enemies to keep us secure, they have also been spying on our allies, too. The National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union are now pairing up to rein in this cloak and dagger group by filing a lawsuit to stop the data collection. Defenders of the agency argue that these powers have helped make up more secure from terrorists attacks and us to track down those that carry out these attacks. Here is what I would like you to do this week.
1. Read the article below. If you are not familiar with the NSA, click on the hyperlink to read a brief description.
2. What do these 2 groups have in common in their fears of the NSA? How are they different?
3. Is this type of power needed to keep the US secure from terrorist attacks by our enemies? Explain.
4. Is giving up some of your privacy worth being secure? Why or why not?
I really enjoyed the comments about the voter ID, although there was much agreement on the issue. This week we will conclude the unit by discussing gender discrimination and the new civil rights movement for homosexuals. I found this article last week while searching for the voter identification article. This one is sure to get some tempers up...just what I like! The article gives stats and data on the ongoing debate of Title IX. This legislation is one we will discuss on Tuesday, but the gist of it is that school's may not discriminate on the basis of gender, but must provide equal opportunities for girls and boys. Sounds like a great idea to this girl, but can implementation of laws create new disadvantages? Or, is this law being applied fairly to create opportunities for women where they used to be non-existent? What do you think? Here is what I would like you to do:
1. Read the article.
2. Comment on the success of Title IX in achieving its intent. Has the law done what it set out to do? Why or why not?
3. What in all that data surprises you, if anything?
4. Finally, tell us what you think of this law in general. Is this law overall a good law or not? Explain your position.
Week 9: Protection of Democracy or Racial Discrimination?
Posted by Selina Jarvis at 10/20/2013 8:00:00 PM
We will begin our chapter on civil rights Wednesday with a discussion on racial discrimination, especially the plight of African Americans. America embraced racial discrimination at our founding. We still are struggling to overcome centuries of legalized discrimination even today. If you have not seen the movie, "Crash," I encourage you to rent it and watch it. It is powerful movie on how all of us harbor biases against other races. When a group charges another group with being "racist," hackles are raised and teeth are bared...THEMS FIGHTIN' WORDS! I found this article to be interesting on two fronts: According to Gallup.com, most of the Democrats worry about i.d. laws disenfranchising Latinos-not African Americans AND most Republicans advocate the need for i.d. laws to prevent illegal aliens from voting-not African Americans. But the battle in NC is very real. Eric Holder's Department of Justice is now involved, so the Courts will ultimately decide the fate of the law. Read the article below. Then come back here and do all of the following:
1. Which side of the voter i.d. debate do you agree with? Explain why.
2. Do you believe requiring an i.d. to vote is similar to a poll tax? Why or why not?
3. Is it a legitimate concern that voter i.d. laws will cost Democrats the election in key battleground states in the coming years? Explain.
We will spend our time this week watching your movies on the Bill of Rights, then make our way through the murky world of procedural and substantive due process. When it comes to legal protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, most Americans probably know they have the right to remain silent, have the right to a lawyer, have a right to a speedy trial, etc. and etc. But how are these rights really protected in today's highly technologically driven society? How do you stop Big Brother from taking those rights away? On the flip side, has technology become so useful to law enforcement agencies that evidence is often irrefutable? You know what the old adage is...if there is smoke, there's fire. Read the first article then come back here and post comments on the following:
1. Should Congress weaken the Patriot Act with this legislation? What are the benefits? What are the costs?
2. Has the PATRIOT Act made us safer or has it harmed our freedom? Explain your position.
3. Finally, is technology harmful or helpful to democracy?
I anxiously await these posts! The second article is a great example of this Act in use.
What a pleasure it was to read your conflicted comments on last week's post. If it conflicted you, I hope it made you realize how complicated politics can be. We want to embrace Jesus and Darwin, but sometimes we may have to choose. For many of you, choosing "Jesus" was how you were raised, but being cut-throat overachievers makes "Darwin" so appealing. The idea that we can do both, as Thomas suggested, makes us hopefully optimistic, but maybe not realistic in the current Washington climate. Let's keep the controversy coming...No more Syria's for this group! This article pits freedom of the press and transparency in government with privacy and the right to bear arms. At first, I felt like there may be too much agreement, but after reading the comments from you, I am sure there are a few of you who will "stir it up!" Here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below. React to each of these questions.
2. Is asking for the public records of gun owners a legitimate use of the 1st Amendment's Freedom of the Press? Why or why not?
3. Is publishing the addresses of pistol owners a useful way of protecting community, even it compromises their privacy? Why or why not?
4. Which of these rights is most important: Freedom of the Press, right to Privacy or the right to Bear Arms? Explain why!
After our test is over this week on the Foundations unit, we will jump right into Civil Liberties and Civil Rights-My favorite unit! The 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. The topic is now on the political "back burner" again, however. The following article lays out the political stalemate, factions, and controversial aspects of the debate. The author also lays out some drastic measures that protesters will take to get this topic back in the forefront of Congressional actions. After reading it, tell me your initial thoughts on the subject...what should our nation's immigration policy be? Are there more important issues we should be focusing on besides immigration? Explain your answer. Finally, which party has the best approach to immigration-Republicans and security or Democrats and access? Explain your opinion.
There is a proverb that says, "Money is the root of all evil." I am sure that you have heard that before. We all know that you have to have money to survive. In this economy, though, it seems that free money is in short supply. States, like ours, are struggling to pay for education. Class sizes are larger, teachers are fewer, course offerings are limited, etc. and etc. The up side of the tough economy means that there will be fewer standardized tests this year. No longer will an EOC test score be able to hold you back or save you in the end in scores of classes. Testing is expensive. But a new kind of testing is underway. Measures of Student Learning (MSLs) are not designed to be punitive to students but rather gauge how effective teachers are. When students fail these exams, it is not their fault, but their teachers. This initiative is President Obama's Education plan called Race to the Top. Tied to Obama's reform is money...free money to those states that "play" by the new rules. NC took the money, rewrote all of its K-12 curriculum to match the national Common Core standards. NC also rewrote how it evaluate teachers to include tying performance to how a teacher's students perform on state tests. This nationalization of school standards is controversial for so many reasons, but does that make it a bad plan? Who should determine what students learn, how to know they have learned it, and what makes a teacher a good teacher? Read the entire article below. After reading, come back here and comment as experts (AKA students) on each of the following:
1. What is good and bad about this education plan? Is tying teacher pay to student performance good or bad?
2. What will improve performance of all students in your opinions?
3. How do we ensure that no child is left behind and that we reach the top in the world again?
4. Should the federal government just take over education fro the states?