The Gold Standard in Education; The Foundation of Our Community.

GCHS Musketeers
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Jason Smith, Principal
Craig Wilburn, Assistant Principal
Eric Keeton, Assistant Principal
196 Musketeer Drive
Greenup, KY 41144

SYLLABUS

SYLLABUS

AP U S GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Teacher: John M. Brown, Greenup County High School, 2015-16

ABOUT YOUR TEACHER: Mr. Brown

Email: john.brown@greenup.kyschools.us

On a personal note: I am a husband, father, grandfather, minister, farmer, avid reader, writer and a passionate “history” and “politics” buff. Enthusiasm is contagious, and I hope to motivate you in your efforts in this class! I will treat you with dignity and respect, and desire the same in return. I want you to be very successful, and am excited about our great year together!

COURSE INTRODUCTION

Welcome to Greenup County High School’s AP U.S. GOVERNMENT & POLITICS, a course designed to introduce students to an advanced study of the institutions, philosophies, influences, and participants of the political system of the United States. We will be studying concepts, accumulating information, carefully analyzing, and learning to engage in critical thinking to understand, explain, and appreciate government’s institutions, principles, outcomes, and roles in our individual and national lives. Remember, this is a college level course – much work will be required, but much reward will be realized!

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

-Bring a notebook, paper, and writing utensils to every class

-A three ring binder to keep notes, handouts, other class materials

-Diligent effort on the part of each student: by its very nature, this is an intensive course; I am here to help you succeed in it; determine you will work hard, and you will succeed!

-Work missed must be made up within the allowed time (number of days you were absent, plus one

-Late work must be turned in by Friday of the week it is due, and points will be deducted

-Responsibility: I have great expectations, but am sure you will meet and even exceed them

-A positive attitude: we will embark on a study that will make us more responsible adults and citizens

-Textbook, and numerous additional reading and research materials

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

-BE RESPECTFUL of your teacher, your classmates, yourselves;

-BE PREPARED for each class by doing your work conscientiously;

-BE PROMPT which means being on time and being ready;

-BE ATTENTIVE which means being alert and awake and being in class (go to the restroom between classes, unless some emergency arises);

-BE DILIGENT in your efforts; remember I want you to succeed and will do everything in my power to help you make it happen, not only as students or test-takers, but as human beings.

COURSE GRADES

Grades will be composed of

-Notebook (which will include your notes from discussion, vocabulary, study questions, study guide)

-Homework (which will be necessary for this course; we simply cannot cover everything only in class)

-Quizzes and Exams (scheduled quizzes; “pop” quizzes; end of unit and other exams)

-Projects (including individual and groups projects; research papers; group efforts)

-Participation (including participation in class, participation in groups, bell-ringer work, exit slips)

-Extra credit (when offered and as needed, which can include independent research and study)

UNIT EXAMS

The conclusion of each unit will include a unit exam, which will be composed of multiple choice questions, and at least one free response question (for a total of at least six analytical and interpretive free response questions during the course).

Grading Scale: 90-100% (A) 80-89% (B) 70-79% (C) 60-69% (D) 59%-below (F)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

From the College Board’s Advanced Placement website (www.collegeboard.com) comes the following information about this course:

“The Course

A well-designed AP course in United States Government and Politics will give students

an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course

includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and

politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the

various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and

politics. While there is no single approach that an AP United States Government and

Politics course must follow, students should become acquainted with the variety of

theoretical perspectives and explanations for various behaviors and outcomes. Certain

topics are usually covered in all college courses…..

Goals

Students successfully completing this course will:

• know important facts, concepts, and theories pertaining to U.S. government and politics

• understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences (including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures, and the political effects of these structures and procedures)

• be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to U.S. government and politics (including data presented in charts, tables, and other formats)

• be able to critically analyze relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately, and develop their connections across the curriculum.”

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

-To learn important facts, concepts, and theories related to the government and political system of the United States;

-To understand the political process, behaviors, and consequences;

-To be able to understand, analyze, and interpret basic information related to this subject.

TEXTS & SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS:

Wilson, James Q. and Dilulio, John J. Jr. American Government, 10th edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

Barbour, Christine & Streb, Matthew J. Clued In To Politics: A Critical Thinking Reader in American Government. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2010.

Bose, Meena and Dilulio, John J. Jr. Classic Ideas and Current Issues in American Government. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.

Constitution Study Guide. New York: Host, Rinehart, and Wilson, 2006.

Encyclopedia of American History, Edition 2. Facts on File, Incorporated, 2009.

Other supplemental readings and handouts will be given during the course, as well as time spent using resources available via Internet, such as official governmental websites, political party websites, and political analysis and opinion websites.

TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES

We will utilize lecture, group discussion, individual reading, classroom discussion, individual and group research, as we relate information, analyze subjects, and debate propositions.

WRITING

Writing well is not only an asset to this course, but to many endeavors in life. We will utilize our skills, seek to build upon and improve them, as we write about concepts, themes, and information related to this course – understanding, evaluating, and analyzing. This will not only aid in the study of the subject, but help prepare for the AP Exam. Sharpen your pencils!

CURRENT EVENTS

Believing that not only is theoretical information useful, but also practical relativity to everyday life and living as responsible citizens, we shall spend time analyzing current events in U. S. government – and the world at large – from various sources: newspapers, magazine, television, and online news services. We will encourage reading and listening to a divergent variety, such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, CNN, Fox News, Time, various government and special-interest websites, etc.

PARTICIPATION

Each student is expected to be an active participant, not only demonstrated by acute listening but also vigorous engagement in the subject.

GUESTS

During the course, we will invite numerous persons from our community who can express information about government and politics from various perspectives: newspaper editors and commentators, politicians, government officials, political party representatives, and involved citizens.

EXTRA READING

Reading from a variety of sources will be encouraged, and expected.

ANALYZING AND INTERPRETING DATA

We will learn to examine, understand, and interpret data relative to U. S. government and politics, including polling data, election results, political maps, and political involvement expectations. We will be using the resources of our textbook and supplemental readings, and information via the internet, to analyze and interpret data. Specifically, we will analyze all the charts, maps, and graphs in the textbook and from other sources relating to each major unit we study. We will particularly note data relative to: voter registration, voter participation, and voter turnout; comparisons between the political culture of the United States and other nations; changes in the sense of political efficacy in the last half-century; “generational gaps” on various political issues; data related to membership in Congress and the power of incumbency; comparisons between how people identify themselves politically and how they actually vote; and the changing demographics of Congress. Further, we will assess students’ abilities to: read and interpret graphs, charts, and political cartoons; note and predict trends in Presidential elections from 1948 to 2008 and into the future; compare political exit polling data in comparison to actual results; and create and interpret their own charts of persons whom they will interview regarding political philosophy, political opinions, and political behavior. Also, we will seek to follow current “political news,” including primary campaigns and primary elections results, analyzing contemporary trends. Each unit will include study of political analysis and data interpretation.

OUR CURRICULUM MAP:

We will cover the following subject units in the following order, both to teach the information required for this course, as well as prepare students to successfully take the AP Exam next May:

UNIT 1 (August):

CONSTITUTIONAL FOUNDATIONS OF UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

The American Revolution and Colonial Ideas about Government

The Articles of Confederation

The Constitutional Convention

The Bill of Rights

The Principle of Separation of Powers

Federalism

Powers of National and State Governments

The Evolution of Federalism

The Principles of Federalism

Theory and Principles of Democratic Government

Intergovernmental Relationships

The United States Constitution

UNIT 2 (September):

POLITICAL BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS

How Americans feel about Government

American Political Socialization

Voting Patterns of Americans

Voters and Non-voters

Political Participation

Culture, Attitudes, Ideology

Politics as a “science”: predicting, polling

Public Opinion Shaping Policy

Campaigns and Elections

UNIT 3 (October):

POLITICAL PARTIES, INTEREST GROUPS, AND MEDIA

Historical Political Parties in the United States

Dominant Political Parties today

Third Parties

Political Parties:

Functions, Organization, Structure, Campaigning

Executive and Legislative Parties

State and Local Organizations

Political Actions Committees: Characteristics, Funding, Impact on Public Policy

Political Evolution and Reform

Interest Groups

Media: Reporting Politics / Influencing Politics

UNIT 4 (November – December – January – February)

INSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT (Congress; Presidency; Judiciary; Bureaucracy)

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH: CONGRESS

The Institution of Congress

The Constitutional Plan: Organization and Structure

The Practical Working of Congress

Historic Evolution

Problems and Criticisms

The Powers of Congress

Expressed and Implied

Legislative Powers and Non-legislative Powers

Relationships with Other Branches of Government

The Legislative Process

Bills: Introduced – Inaugurated

Committees: Leadership and Process

Procedures: referrals, debate, amending, reports, filibuster

EXECUTIVE BRANCH: THE PRESIDENCY

Constitutional Provisions: Executive, Military, Diplomatic, Pardon

The Office of the President: Organization and Structure

The White House

The Vice-President

The Cabinet

Party Leadership

National Influence

Implied Powers

Relationships with Other Branches of Government

JUDICIAL BRANCH: THE SUPREME COURT

Constitutional Provisions: Organization and Structure

Judicial Roles and Powers: review, enforcement, action

The Federal Court System: Cases, nominations, management

The struggle: judicial restraint vs. judicial activism, historically and contemporaneously

Landmark cases impacting American political, legal, and cultural life

Relationships with Other Branches of Government

UNIT 5 (March):

PUBLIC POLICY

The Federal Bureaucracy: structure, power, administration, composition, authorization, oversight

Policy: Influences – how policy is made and executed

Major Policy Types: Economic, Social, Foreign Relations

The Civil Service

Presidential Control through orders, directions, nominations, removals

UNIT 6 (April)

CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

The Bill of Rights

Major Court Cases

Life, Liberty, Property

Equal Protection

14th Amendment

Civil rights Acts / Voting Rights Acts

REVIEW & SPECIAL STUDIES (May)

Charts & Data Analysis: a comparison of the Presidential elections of 1980-2012, with analysis of the election of 2012 and prospects for 2016; a comparison of Congressional elections during the same period, with predictions concerning legislative and executive actions in the coming year.

AP Course Outline Review

Free Response Writing Guide and Practice

Special Studies: critical concepts; student interests

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