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 5-1/2 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:
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!
What has this course taught you about yourself and your study habits? Focus not just on negative things here, but positives as well!
What has this class taught you about your country, peers and leaders? Does that frighten or excite you with the upcoming Presidential innauguration?
The last day to post a comment for full credit for this blog is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 13th.
Happy New Year and welcome to the year of your high school graduation! These next few months are sure to fly, but in between we will culminate our course by primarily studying the major institutions of our federal government. Before we take that leap at the end of the month, we will complete our unit on"Influencing Government" by studying special interests groups. This unit will tie interest groups to other influences that we studied before the break-political parties, elections and the media. Your special interest project is due on January 11th, but if you have not started your research, that is all right. This week's post is a gentle way to nudge you into starting.
The site you are exploring today is a HUGE non-partisan database. You are going to be exploring just the section on special interest groups, but feel free to peruse other sections. Okay, here is what I would like you to do this week:
Pick 2 topics to explore. You may choose from the drop-down section if you want.
Find a group that supports Republicans and another that supports Democrats on each issue.
Read about the group's position on each side then come back here and contrast the differences in positions for each issue you chose to explore. To determine if it is a Republican or Democratic supporter, click on the Endorsements tab and look at the candidates the group endorsed.
The last day to post comments for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on January 6th.
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. Americans can be informed on any event at any time nearly anywhere. With the rise of the use of social media, stories can go viral and be shared by tens of thousands in a blink of an eye. In the last few months, both the left and the right have railed and lamented over the problem of "fake news." From the bus tweet alleging Trump protestors to the Washington Post story about Russian hackers, both sides have been culprits in spreading fake news.
You were all part of my social media nightmare earlier this fall when our Today's Meet forum was crashed by trolls. I was devasted, horrified, and powerless while it was happening, but learned a very valuable lesson about not password protecting my bakchannel.
After spending way too long looking for an objective story, I came upon one that may help all of us from becoming the perpetrators of spreading misinformation. I am a news junkie. I read, research, then read some more. So, here is what I would like you to do this week:
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: