• Week 16: The Media

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 12/14/2014 8:00:00 PM
    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. Even remote, small-town newspapers are still widely read. Americans can be informed on any event at any time nearly anywhere. Well, that is except in what happens at the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is hallowed ground and cameras are strictly forbidden. Today, oral arguments are audio recorded and available on the web just hours after a case is heard. But, should the High Court allow cameras to video tape proceedings or would this change the dynamics of the proceedings? Read the article below the come back here and answer the following questions.
    2. Explain how you think the SCOTUS might benefit from cameras in the classroom.
    3.What negatives may come out of televising these cases?
    4. Which side do you most agree with and why? 
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, December 19th. 
    Comments (4)
  • Week 15: Money & Politics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 12/7/2014 8:00:00 PM
    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 2012 Presidential race, the NC Senate race and the money that was 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:
    1. Compare the money that was raised by the Presidential candidates in 2012.  Comment on the amounts.
    2. Click on the tab at the top left called Politicians & Elections. Click on Congressional Elections, then compare the amounts raised by Thom Tillis & Kay Hagan.  Look at all the categories in the comparison like the biggest donors.  What did you learn from the comparisons?  
    3.When you are finished exploring the site, comment on your overall feelings about money and politics.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 12th.  
    Comments (28)
  • Week 14: Party Politics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/30/2014 8:00:00 PM
    This week, I am going to have you read an article that I bookmarked back in August. 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 latest election under you belts. So here is what I want you to do this week:
    1. Read the article & study the graphs with the following article: The Growing Blue State Diaspora
    2. We know that NC elected Republican Senator Thom Tillis and that the Republicans reclaimed the US Senate. Is the assumption that liberals moving South impact the electoral outcomes wrong? Explain your position.
    3. What surprised or shocked you most about the graphs? Comment on at least 2 trends or patterns you noticed.
    4. If these trends and assumptions remain true, can a Republican possibly win in 2016? Explain your view.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, December 5th. 
    Comments (27)
  • Week 13: Voting Data & Statistics

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/16/2014 8:00:00 AM
    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:
    1. View the election results for Currituck County or click on statewide and compare with Currituck at http://enr.ncsbe.gov/ElectionResults/scrolling_contests.aspx?county_id=27&slides=3&speed=2000
    2. Come back and analyze 3 aspects of that data relating to voting habits, trends or demographics.
    3. Once an area has been analyzed, it is off limits unless you want to dispute the analysis. So, blog early!
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, November 21st.
    Comments (27)
  • Week 12: Political Ideology and Socialization

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/9/2014 2:00:00 PM
    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!
    http://www.nolanchart.com/survey-php Great, in depth survey of 10 questions.
    http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_is_your_political_ideology Great choices that are sometimes frustrating!
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, November 14th!
    Comments (28)
  • Week 11: The Culture War

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 11/2/2014 2:00:00 PM
    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:
    1. Go to the following page at Gallup's website:  http://www.gallup.com/poll/trends.aspx
    2. Pick one topic from the list. The date should be from 2014.
    3. Read the article that goes with the research & study the trends.
    4. Come back here and outline what the conflict is about between Americans. Which is progressive? Orthodox?
    5. How have the views of Americans changed on the issue over time? Why do you think that is?
    6. You may weigh in on the issue with your opinion, but it is not required.
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 7th.
    Comments (27)
  • Week 10: The Affirmative Action Debate

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 10/27/2014 7:00:00 PM
    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. 
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, October 31st. 
    Comments (27)
  • Week 9: Gender Wage Gap

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 10/19/2014 7:00:00 PM
    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? 
    Explain your opinions above with good examples!
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on October 24, 2014. 
    Comments (27)
  • Week 8: Freedom of Expression & Due Process

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 10/12/2014 9:00:00 PM
    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:
    1. Read the article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ 
    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.
    Comments (27)
  • Week 7: Rights in Conflict

    Posted by Selina Jarvis at 10/5/2014 8:00:00 PM
    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?
    The last day to post a comment for full credit is midnight on Friday, October 10th. 
    Comments (27)