I really enjoyed your personal stories and insight about your political views & 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 November 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 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 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. 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!
Last week, we started our detailed discussions on our political culture. This week we should also have some lively discussions I hope. You have nearly all weighed in on last week's conflict concerning Affirmative Action. I enjoyed the detailed comments that many of you posted and the fact that while there was agreement on the 10% plan, there was much disagreement on whether affirmative action policies are still needed. 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:
As we conclude our discussions on civil rights this week, we will take our knowledge of the history of the Civil Rights & Women's Movements to tackle the controversial topic of affirmative action. The SCOTUS has ruled on this issue several times over the last decade, all with little clarity and, consequently leading to more litigation. Being racially neutral is difficult if higher institutions (i.e., public universities and colleges) want diversity. The arguments abound on both sides of this issue. We have already discussed some of the terms used in these articles like "strict scrutiny" and "narrowly tailored" last week, so if you you have trouble with these concepts, you may need to Google those terms. Okay, here is what I want you to do this week:
1. Read the 2 case summaries from oyez.org below to understand the rationale of the current SCOTUS on affirmative action.
2. Read the article concerning the current affirmative action dilemma.
3. Take a position as to whether the 10% of class policy will ensure opportunities for diversity and whether it is race-neutral.
4. Finally, weigh in on whether affirmative action policies are needed today or not. Support your opinion.
I have changed my post here at the last moment and hope this is more in line with what we will be delving into this week. We will tackle 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. This past April, the Paycheck Fairness Act was defeated in the 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. This law seems simple if studying the title, but concerns abound with its contents. So, here is what I would like you to do this week.
1. Read both articles below.
2. Which side do you agree with and why?
3. Should the government do more to guarantee equal pay for equal work or is that opening the door for more troubles?
This week we will explore the many interpretations of what is protected under the 1st Amendment and what is not, often leading to prosecution in the courts. Very rarely do I find an article that so superbly hits two topics, but this is an unusual story to say the least. We have done several articles on terrorists, terrorism and security this year. I feel confident that many of you will respond to this article in a similar fashion, but this article has a few twists. The person is an American, the person has not broken a law, and the government redacted (marked out due to the information being classified) so much of the information is speculation. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
2. Take a position in the debate about whether a person should be investigated under section 215 for merely expressing sympathy or support for terrorist activities? Support your position!
3. Explain which of the following is the greatest danger to our country: Suppressing expression for terrorism? Government redacting information from the public? Allowing citizens to openly support terrorist activities?
The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, October 17th.
I really enjoyed your comments last week on the dilemmas of immigration that face our country. I anxiously await our debates on Tuesday 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. That last part is the tricky one. Who should be entitled to civil liberties: Prisoners? Illegal immigrants? Terrorists? That very dilemma is at the crux of this week's blog and in a hearing this week in Washington, DC. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article below.
2. What are your feelings toward the force feeding practices: Torture or life-preserving? Explain!
3. What rights should these prisoners of war have: Trial by jury? Free Speech? Right to Counsel? Others?
4. What do you think the judge may decide in this case with video evidence and 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. ISIS is now consuming the headlines and it seems as if immigration is no longer a concern. I'm sure after the midterm elections in about a month, 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.
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. Testing is expensive. But a new kind of testing is underway. North Carolina Final Exams are designed to gauge how much students have learned and thereby assess just how effective the teachers are. NC has spent billions on development of this new curriculum, training for teachers, technology to support it, and of course on test development. 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? NC is now thinking about repealing this new common core curriculum as both conservatives and liberals alike are shouting NO to these standard. Who should determine what students learn, how to know they have learned it, and what makes a teacher a good teacher? Read the pro, con and the legislative update from NC articles 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?
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?
Chapter 3 looks at the complicated aspect of federalism in our republic. This principle sets our nation apart from most others. The states created the national republic, but most of the Framers would be appalled at how few true powers the states have retained. The 10th Amendment was intended to protect the states by reserving to them any power not delegated to the federal government or specifically denied to them. That was 1791! The line between federal and state authority has continued to be erased by that good ol' 14th Amendment and the Commerce clause's interpretation. Marriage has traditionally been viewed as a "reserved power" of the states. This rationale follows the language of the Tenth Amendment...there are no provisions giving the federal government dominion over marriage; the power is not denied to the states; so the power belongs to the states. But the issue becomes the federal government's business when it violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The federal courts had a precedent to intervene in states' denial of marriage in the 1960's. In Loving v. VA, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down laws that banned interracial marriages. So, should they do the same with same sex marriage? In June, 2013, the High Court struck down DOMA and California's Proposition 8, but stopped short of ruling all gay marriages legal. NC voted to amend our state Constitution, keeping marriage only between one man and one woman in May, 2012! Now, states like Indiana and ours that ban gay marriage are both saying to the federal government: Keep your laws off our powers.Gay marriage proponent states like Massachusetts are lining up to head to court to have these laws struck down. Read the article below and respond to each of the following:
1. Should the SCOTUS settle this issue once and for all? How should they rule & why?
2. Do you support a 10th or a 14th Amendment view? In other words, who should define marriage the states or the federal government?
3. What is the danger of this issue being settled by the SCOTUS? What is the danger in them not deciding this issue?