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:
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.
What surprised or shocked you most about the graphs? Comment on at least 2 trends or patterns you noticed.
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.
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:
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!
This week we will start our discussions on American political culture. We hopefully will have some lively debates and discussions again this week. You all weighed in on last week's blog concerning Affirmative Action. I enjoyed the detailed comments that many of you posted and the fact that, while there was much 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:
Read the 2 case summaries from oyez.org below to understand the rationale of the current SCOTUS on affirmative action.
Read the article concerning the current affirmative action dilemma over Fisher II.
Take a position as to whether the 10% of class policy will ensure opportunities for diversity and whether it is race-neutral.
Finally, weigh in on whether affirmative action policies are needed today or not. Support your opinion.
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. 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. Last term in Glossip v. Gross, a hot debate arose over whether or not this punishment is still constitutional. The death penalty withstood this test, but only by the smallest margins. The start of the term this year seems to be rehashing this issue, but the punishment itself is not on the chopping block just yet. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
1. Read the article concerning the Witchita Massacre Case and the link above if you need a review on last term's case.
2. Why do you think the constitutionality of the death penalty is at issue now?
3. How do you think the US would be affected if the death penalty was struck down?
4. Finally, how would you rule in the Witchita Massacre case? Would you strike down the sentences or reinstate them? EXPLAIN!
The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 16th.
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. That last part is the tricky one. Which of civil liberties should prevail when they come into conflict: 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.
2. Do you think there should be such a thing as the "right to be forgotten?"
3. What are the dangers and what are the benefits of such a ruling?
4. How will the US be impacted if we don't follow the European court's model?
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 "front burner" again thanks to Donald Trump (or so he thinks). I'm sure as soon as the field narrows for next year's primaries, 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 generalities can you make about what factors bring federal money into a state?
What geographical trends do you see when it comes to federal money flowing into the states?
Finally, comment on why you think the federal government is able to dominate the states' wishes when it comes to money.