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U.S. Government

The U.S. Government course provides an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. We will study both the general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific case studies, and will become familiar with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. political reality.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

1. What is power? Who has power within American government and society?

2. What is the role of government and is it necessary?

3. Is the U.S. Constitution the most effective method for organizing the government?

4. What is a citizen and what are their responsibilities?

5. What allows the government to continue evolving?


CURRENT EVENTS will be used as much as possible to bring the concepts of politics alive in our discussions.

One of my main personal objectives in this class is to give you honest, accurate information regarding how the U.S. government and society, with all its different factors, came to be what it is today. However, once you have this information, I want you to form a solid opinion based on the facts! Your opinion can be whatever you want, but you must be able to substantiate it!

An educated opinion is a powerful tool that will earn you respect!

 Please remember that you are in control of your success in this class.

 Take responsibility for your work and be accountable for your actions.

DATECLASS CALENDAR / INFORMATION
Wednesday
September 5
TOPIC: INTRODUCTION

1.
CLASS WEBSITE
2. EVALUATION
3. APPROACH 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Choose an ONLINE NEWS WEBSITE / REVIEW CURRENT EVENTS (World - U.S. - Business - Technology - Culture) / Come to class ready to share your QUESTIONS & OPINIONS 
Thursday
September 6
FRIDAY CLASS SCHEDULE
TOPIC: So WHY do we have to study this stuff?
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: Using current events topics, we will analyze how & why "GOVERNMENT" and "POLITICS" affect our lives.
 
CLASS PRESENTATION: TRADE [Last Week tonight with John Oliver]

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:

 READ
Principles of Government Outline 
- SECTION 1, GOVERNMENT & THE STATE
- SECTION 2, FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
 
-- Bring to class any questions you have on vocabulary and concepts

[IF THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS, I will assume you understand everything AND give you a quiz (so you can get an "A")]

IF you are interested - I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration - (This is NOT normal)
Friday
September 7
TOPIC: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 

CLASS PRESENTATION:
American Political Culture 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ
Principles of Government Outline - SECTION 3, BASIC CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY
Monday
September 10
TOPIC: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT

 CLASS ACTIVITY: iCivics - BRANCHES OF POWER
Tuesday
September 11
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 12TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #1 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Please Vote for Me

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete 
Please Vote for Me Questions
Thursday
September 13
**TOPIC: CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS - Example #2 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTRUNNERS  
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete
FRONTRUNNERS Questions
Friday
September 14
TOPIC: WINNING ELECTIONS
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: iCivics - WIN THE WHITE HOUSE  
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ Seven Deadly American Sins ARTICLE and COMPLETE REACTION SHEET
Monday
September 17
TOPIC: Problems - and maybe Solutions - in the U.S. Electoral/Voting Process  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Dude, Where's My Ballot!?!

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ
Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency? - [LONG article - DON'T WORRY about details ... read for basic ideas / opinions] 
Tuesday
September 18
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 19TOPIC: ELECTIONS IN THE U.S. 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Voters and Voter Behavior 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READ
We Vote, But Who's Counting - Article on problems with Computer Voting Machines   
Thursday
September 20
**TOPIC: INVESTIGATION INTO VOTING PROBLEMS IN U.S. 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Hacking Democracy 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete
Hacking Democracy Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY 
Friday
September 21
TOPIC: ELECTIONS / VOTING PROCESS  IN THE U.S. - Catch-Up Day 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 
1. Dude, Where's My Ballot!?!
2. Voters and Voter Behavior

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Complete Hacking Democracy Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
For Monday's Current Events discussion we need EXPERT BACKGROUND INFORMATION on the following topic: TALK OF ETHNIC PARTITION REVIVES OLD BALKAN GHOSTS    
Monday
September 24
TOPIC: CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Understanding Elections

CLASS ACTIVITY:
LIVING ROOM CANDIDATE COMPUTER ASSIGNMENT

NOTES:
THE LANGUAGE OF PERSUASION 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: ANALYSIS OF FOUR CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENTS DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
 
Tuesday
September 25
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 26TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns   
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. The Mass Media and American Politics
2. Wag the Dog 
Thursday
September 27
**TOPIC: SPIN - The Media and Election Campaigns  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Wag the Dog

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Wag the Dog
Question Sheet - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY 
Friday
September 28
TOPIC: EXPERIMENT IN "EQUALITY"???

CLASS ACTIVITY: 2081 /
REACTION-RESPONSE QUESTIONS 
Monday
October 1
TOPIC: THE MEDIA  
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: CURRENT EVENTS VIA REVIEW of TOP 15 MOST POPULAR POLITICAL WEBSITES

INTERESTING ARTICLE: Blasey Ford, White Male Privilege and the Reckoning to Come
Tuesday
October 2
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 3
TOPIC: THE MEDIA

CLASS PRESENTATION: BRETT KAVANAUGH [Last Week tonight with John Oliver]

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2016-2017 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
Thursday
October 4
**TOPIC: The Political Climate

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Trump Voters One Year On
2. Angry, White and American


ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: PROJECT CENSORED - Top Censored Stories of 2016-2017 -- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY 
Friday
October 5
TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES
       
CLASS ACTIVITY: MEASURING POLITICAL AFFILIATION
- Complete the 4 ONLINE TESTS
- SUMMARIZE + EVALUATE YOUR RESULTS
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
      
Monday
October 8
TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: Political Parties

NOTES:
1.
POLITICAL PARTIES Summary / Outline
2. History of U.S. POLITICAL PARTIES

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Political Parties Webquest - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY  
Tuesday
October 9
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 10
TESTING: PSATs in MORNING

Community Service in AFTERNOON
Thursday
October 11
ARIZONA STATE FAIR 
Friday
October 12
Ms. Workman
TOPIC:
POLITICAL PARTIES

PLAN A        
CLASS ACTIVITY: 
iCivics - ACTIVATE 
PLAN B        
CLASS ACTIVITY: Work on 
Political Parties Webquest - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Monday
October 15
TOPIC: CONGRESS - OVERVIEW / INCUMBENCY

CLASS PRESENTATION:
CONGRESS - Part 1

NOTES:
CONGRESS NOTES - PART 1 

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READING -
The Legislative Branch 
Tuesday
October 16
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 17
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW IT WORKS
     
CLASS ACTIVITY - iCIVICS:
1.
LAW CRAFT
2. REPRESENT ME!
3.
BUDGETING - PEOPLE'S PIE

INTERESTING ARTICLE: 3 Colliding Problems Leading to a New Economic Disaster
Thursday
October 18
**TOPIC: GOVERNMENT vs. INDEPENDENT MEDIA

CLASS PRESENTATION: All Governments Lie

ASSIGNMENT/ASSESSMENT:
THE LIES - Pick ONE and write a short summary [IN YOUR OWN WORDS] of:
1. the issue/event
2. the investigation by journalists
3. your reaction/opinion
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
 
Friday
October 19
TOPIC: CONGRESS - HOW TO GET ELECTED
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
Instructions for The Redistricting Game

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - CHOOSE ONE:
1. READING -
How Laws Are Made
2. How a Bill Becomes a Law (chart)
3. 
How a Bill Becomes a Law (ppt)

Check out any of the iCivics games from Wednesday, 10/17 that you have not yet played
Monday
October 22
TOPIC: Current Events / Upcoming Election on November 6th

1. The 10 most important Senate elections, briefly explained
2. The 15 most interesting House races of 2018
3. The 13 most important Governor elections in 2018, briefly explained

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - CHOOSE ONE from EACH CATEGORY above. You will be responsible for:
a) tracking the race
b) making a prediction on Monday, November 5th
c) reporting the results to the class on Wednesday, November 7th (a day of joyous celebration OR utter despair???)
Tuesday
October 23
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 24
TOPIC: Rigged Elections? Real Problem or Hoax?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: READING -  
Rigged: How Voter Suppression Handed Wisconsin to Trump (And possibly handed him the whole election)

WANT MORE INFORMATION? IRL: ONLINE LIFE IS REAL LIFE Podcast - What to Expect When You're Electing (ask me for the file)
Thursday
October 25
**TOPIC: Rigged Elections? Real Problem or Hoax?  
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: NOT A WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT - The Best Democracy Money Can Buy DISCUSSION QUESTIONSREVIEW THE QUESTIONS / WE WILL DISCUSS IN CLASS ON FRIDAY 
Friday
October 26
END OF FIRST QUARTER

TOPIC: The State of American Elections

CLASS ACTIVITY: Discussion of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and upcoming elections
Monday
October 29
TOPIC: Current Events / Election 2018 / JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Tuesday
October 30
NO CLASS
Wednesday October 31TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1.
THE CSI EFFECT
2. 
PROTECTIONS FOR CRIMINAL SUSPECTS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
TRIAL ACTIVITY - Tom Randall's Halloween Party - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY
-
TRIAL ACTIVITY WORKSHEET 
Thursday
November 1
**TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
CRIME and RACE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
2. 12 Angry Men 
 
Friday
November 2
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: 12 Angry Men
 
ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
12 Angry Men WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON
MONDAY
 
 
Monday
November 5
ELECTION PREDICTIONS!!!!!
TOPIC: JUDICIAL SYSTEM

CLASS PRESENTATION: IMMIGRATION [Last Week tonight with John Oliver]

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1.
READ Why these Trump midterms will affect everyone - not just Americans
2. iCIVICS: Do I Have A Right? - Bill of Rights / Do I Have A Right? - Constitutional Law

PICKS by CLASS PUNDITS
Tuesday
November 6
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 7
ELECTION RESULTS!!!!!

TOPIC: The FUTURE of DEMOCRACY in the United States????
Thursday
November 8
**TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #1

CLASS PRESENTATION
1.
CRIMINAL RIGHTS
2. THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE 

NOTES:
STEPS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
READING -
1.
False Confessions
2.
A Chronology of The Central Park Five case from the NY Daily News
Friday
November 9
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #1
      
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: NO WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT - Review Worksheet on THE CENTRAL PARK FIVEWE WILL DISCUSS IN CLASS ON MONDAY  
Monday
November 12
TOPIC: CURRENT EVENTS DAY (need to catch up on what's been happening)

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1. Follow-up Discussion of
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
2. Current Events - Election Results, Trade, Subtractions/Additions to Trump Administration
Tuesday
November 13
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 14TOPIC: FIRST AMENDMENT AND STUDENT RIGHTS

READING
:
Student's Expulsion Feeds Debate on Online Rights, USA TODAY      

CLASS PRESENTATION
1.
Student Rights Handbook (Sorry - you have fewer rights than a public school student!)
2. Free Speech and Student Rights
3.
School Law 
Thursday
November 15
**TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS - Example #2
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: FRONTLINE - THE CONFESSIONS    

NOTES: Resolution of the Case in 2017

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
Worksheet on THE CONFESSIONS OF THE NORFOLK FOUR  - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON FRIDAY  
Friday
November 16
TOPIC: CRIMINAL RIGHTS / STUDENT RIGHTS / WOMEN'S RIGHTS

1.
Follow-up discussion of FRONTLINE - THE CONFESSIONS / CRIMINAL RIGHTS
2. Dartmouth students' lawsuit vs. "predatory" professors
3. Ohio's "Heartbeat" Abortion Bill  
Monday
November 19
Interested in what a legal document looks like?
The Complaint in the $70 million lawsuit against Dartmouth University

TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

CLASS PRESENTATION:
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
- READING
:
Eisenhower's "Farewell Address" (the Military - Industrial Complex Speech)
- OR LISTEN to the
SPEECH (audio clip) 
Tuesday
November 20
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 21TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

PLAN A
       
CLASS ACTIVITY:
iCivics - Crisis of Nations

Some other online activities examining policy issues that you might find interesting:
-
Stop Disasters [Natural Disasters & Evacuation Planning, Urban Planning, Climate Technology]
-
Against All Odds [Life as a Refugee] 
THANKSGIVING BREAK
Monday
November 26
TOPIC: CURRENT EVENTS DAY (need to catch up on what's been happening)
Tuesday
November 27
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 28TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
CURRENT POLICY ISSUES / SITUATIONS - according to the U.S. State Department
2. Sample Syllabi of College Courses on this topic: #1, #2, #3 
Thursday
November 29
**TOPIC: FOREIGN POLICY and NATIONAL DEFENSE

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. 
U.S. Military Deployments
2. Costs of War
3. 
WHY WE FIGHT

Article that shows connection between PAST POLICY and PRESENT "BLOWBACK":
We Bear Responsibility for the Conditions in Honduras Causing Its People to Flee
Friday
November 30
TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy
   
CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish WHY WE FIGHT

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
WHY WE FIGHT Discussion Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY (Bring in any questions you have about the assignment on Monday) 
Monday
December 3
TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1.
Follow-up discussion of WHY WE FIGHT  + Assignment
2. CURRENT EVENTS (focus on G20 meeting?)

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: WHY WE FIGHT Discussion Questions - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY 
Tuesday
December 4
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 5
TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy - FUTURE ISSUES?!?

CLASS PRESENTATION: The Coming War on China

Background / Perspectives on the documentary: [BE AWARE OF SOURCES - POSSIBLE BIAS?]  

1. From New Internationalist MagazineThe Coming War on China [LONG read but interesting]
2. From The Diplomat -
The Trouble with John Pilger’s The Coming War on China
3. From China.org.cnPilger’s film: a powerful weapon against the coming war on China
4. From Russia Today - 5 Mind-Boggling Things about The Coming War on China
5. From VultureHound Magazine (UK) - Compelling, Enlightening, Damning Stuff
6. From Quora - What Do You Think About John Pilger’s New Film The Coming War With China?    
                                                         (11 answers – majority from Chinese individuals)
   
Thursday
December 6
**TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy - FUTURE ISSUES?!?

CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish The Coming War on China

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: What do YOU think about The Coming War on China?
- Be SPECIFIC about the positives and negatives you see in John Pilger's arguments.
- Can be answered in list / bullet point / outline format
- DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
 
Friday
December 7
TOPIC: POLICY-MAKING - Foreign and Defense Policy - FUTURE ISSUES?!?

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1.
Follow-up discussion of The Coming War on China  + Assignment
2. Work on assignment
Monday
December 10
TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING

CLASS PRESENTATION: INTEREST GROUPS

NOTES: 
INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING

Democracy in U.S. 2018-19? The Republicans' Midwest 'Power Grab'
Tuesday
December 11
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 12
TOPIC: PUBLIC POLICY = INTEREST GROUPS + THINK TANKS + MEDIA

CLASS ACTIVITY:
Analysis of a Public Policy Issue - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY, 1/9/2019
Thursday
December 13
**TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING 
       
CLASS PRESENTATION: THANK YOU FOR SMOKING  
Friday
December 14
TOPIC: INTEREST GROUPS / LOBBYING

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1.
Follow-up discussion of THANK YOU FOR SMOKING  [DISCUSSION QUESTIONS]
2. Work on VACATION ASSIGNMENT - Analysis of a Public Policy Issue - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY, 1/9/2019
WINTER VACATION
Tuesday
January 8
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 9
TOPIC:
Thursday
January 10
**TOPIC:
Friday
January 11
TOPIC:
Monday
January 14
TOPIC:
Tuesday
January 15
TOPIC:
Wednesday
January 16
TOPIC:
Thursday
January 17
TOPIC: 
Friday
January 18
TOPIC: 
Monday
January 21
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
January 22
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 23
TOPIC: 
Thursday
January 24
**TOPIC: 
Friday
January 25
TOPIC: 
Monday
January 28
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
January 29
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
Wednesday
January 30
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
Thursday
January 31
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS 
Friday
February 1
POST-EXAM BREAK: NO CLASSES