AP U.S. Government and Politics is a college level class that can be used to fulfill both high school and college credit! The course involves an examination of the principles behind the United States’ government and political institutions, an introduction to political behaviors and collective action, and a study of key concepts in the American political tradition. We will delve into the historical development of our current political situation. The goal is for students to become familiar with public policies, our Constitutional underpinnings, and political behavior in our society. Some important topics include federalism, civil rights, the branches of government, public opinion, policy development, political parties, and the role of the news media.
The AP course centers around five major themes, which are quoted below from the course framework:
1. Constitutionalism- The U.S. Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances among branches of government and allocates power between federal and state governments. This system is based on the rule of law and the balance between majority rule and minority rights.
2. Liberty and Order- Governmental laws and policies balancing order and liberty are based on the U.S. Constitution and have been interpreted differently over time.
3. Civic Participation in a Representative Democracy- Popular sovereignty, individualism, and republicanism are important considerations of U.S. laws and policy making and assume citizens will engage and participate.
4. Competing Policy-Making Interests- Multiple actors and institutions interact to produce and implement possible policies.
5. Methods of Political Analysis- Using various types of analyses, political scientists measure how U.S. political behavior, attitudes, ideologies, and institutions are shaped by a number of factors over time.
Students will learn to interpret data, analyze the political process from various viewpoints, and describe how various political groups function today. Students will get a chance to design political cartoons, develop a mock campaign, analyze current events and much more. The class will also include frequent discussions to facilitate the exploration of ideas and internalization of the content. The course is designed to be very interactive, with students interacting with each other and the instructor frequently through the learning management system (Canvas) and the weekly live session.
The course will be centered around the concepts presented in the primary textbook. We will meet weekly to review the significant ideas and discuss relevant examples. There will be a weekly quiz and several weekly assignments. Assignments may include activities, research projects, writing short essays, watching videos, or reading portions of various texts. The estimated amount of work per week is 6 hours outside of the live session. All sessions will be recorded and posted for review. Students are not required to attend the live sessions if the time does not work with their schedules. Students should plan on sitting for the AP exam, which falls in early May.
Who should enroll?
This class is only for high school students who are able to commit to serious study for the duration of the course. The class will be rigorous and is designed as such to enable students to effectively engage with the principle of government at an advanced level and perform well on the AP exam. Prerequisites include a general knowledge of US government and a strong vocabulary. If you took my Intro to US Government class prior, that is definitely sufficient! Other students may be requested to demonstrate aptitude prior to acceptance.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Student questions will be attended to as promptly as possible. I try to respond to e-mails within 24 hours. Assignments are normally graded within a week’s time. Students receive feedback and guidance as a regular part of the course.
Parents should contact me before enrolling their child to make sure the prerequisites have been satisfied. Please indicate your child’s grade level, experience with government, overall academic abilities, and any other major time commitments. Parental communication during the course will also be attended to as promptly as possible.