Course Description: The course objective is to introduce students to the principles behind the United States’ government and political institutions and to enable the students to interact with various viewpoints. Students will understand the historical development of our current political situation, analyze the political process, and describe how various political groups function today. The goal is for students to become familiar with public policies, our Constitutional underpinnings, and political behavior in our society. Students should then be able to appropriately apply their understanding to evaluate how just and appropriate various political actions are.
The course will be very engaging, including group discussions and activities. Students will be expected to contribute to class discussions in the on-line classroom. Students will also have weekly homework assignments, which will reinforce and expand upon the classroom discussions. This course will serve as a prerequisite to a possible future AP US Government and Politics course.
Some weekly course concepts include:
– What is legitimate government and how did the Founders envision it?
– What different types of federalism have been debated and utilized in American government?
– The three branches of national government (their functions, original design and current practices)
– Political parties and their role in American government
– How does policy making occur? What is the role of the bureaucracy?
– The Constitution and the limits it places on government activities
– How does the media shape perceptions?
– America’s role in the world (past and present)
There is an estimated 3-4 hours of work per week outside of the live class.