MR. FORTMANN AMERICAN ISSUES
What Am I Going to Learn?
American Issues is a study of Who gets what and How they get it. On a more specific level, this class can be
broken into two groups: Government and Current Events and how these things interact. We will examine
how cooperation and conflict interact at the local, state, national, and global political systems. We will build
upon what was learned in U.S. History as to the principles that our country was built upon and question
whether or not we still operate upon those ideals. You will learn to critique the positive and negative aspects
of our government and hopefully will learn how you can live and contribute to our increasingly
Course Objectives: (Taken from the Wisconsin State Social Studies Standards)
C.12.1 Identify the sources, evaluate the justification, and analyze the implications of certain rights and responsibilities of citizens
C.12.5 Analyze different theories of how governmental powers might be used to help promote or hinder liberty, equality, and justice,
and develop a reasoned conclusion
C.12.6 Identify and analyze significant political benefits, problems, and solutions to problems related to federalism and the separation of
C.12.8 Locate, organize, analyze, and use information from various sources to understand an issue of public concern, take a position,
and communicate the position
C.12.10 Identify ways people may participate effectively in community affairs and the political process
Dates: Unit Title
Jan. 26th – Foundations of American Government:
• Establish that Governments are created to serve six purposed
• Debate the ideas of the United States as a democracy
• Discover the basic principles upon which the Constitution is built
•Explain the merits of how Federalism splits power between the national and state
Feb. 8th – American Citizenship:
• Evaluate 1st Amendment freedoms and analyze “real world” situations where those
freedoms are sometimes limited
• Discover how the definition of citizenship has changed in the United States during its
• Examine how “civic responsibility” is important to maintaining the American political
• Determine where individual rights end and the “common good” begins
March 1st – US Political Systems:
• Analyze the similarities and differences of the shared American political identity
• Analyze the evolution of political ideology in the United States and determine where
students fit on the spectrum
• Identify the relationship between political ideologies and political parties in the United
• Evaluate the role of money, interest groups and the media in the political process
March 22 - Current Events Issue
• Explore a current issue of importance in the news
• Discuss Controversies related to issue
April 2nd – SPRING BREAK!
April 12th – Legislative Branch:
• Explore the make up of the United States Congress and determine if it is similar to that
of the “average American”
• Analyze the process of redrawing congressional districts and the problems created
• Experience how compromise and strategy play an important role in the law making
May 3rd – Executive Branch:
• Analyze the expansion of the Presidency
• Evaluate the different roles of the President
• Explore those groups/people who are established to help the President run the
May 24th – Judicial Branch:
• Describe the structure and make-up of the Judicial system
• Evaluate the effectiveness and fairness of the American Judicial System
• Analyze the Supreme Court’s role in the Judicial branch and how their interpretation of
the Constitution can change over time
Organization is key to academic success. If Organization is not a strong suit for you, see me and I will gladly
recommend some organizational strategies to help keep you on top of things!
Notebook (Just for this class)
Pens and or Pencils ( I always have extras if you happen to lose yours, Just Ask)
Folder (Just for this class)
OPTIONAL: Flash drive/USB for when we do work in the computer lab.
A mature and positive attitude
Textbook: EMC Publishing, American Government Citizenship and Power, 2009 Edition
*A note about the book. One of the great features of this book is that an online version of the book is
available. Therefore we will use books in class and you will be expected to access the online book for
homework assignments. If you cannot access the online text at home, you will be issued a book for the
semester. Instructions as to how to access the online text are located on my website:
www.fortmann.wikispaces.com under the Issues online text tab on the left side of the page.
How You Will Be Graded:
50 % Assessments: Tests, Quizzes, Major Projects
50 % Homework, Classwork, Daily Assignments and
Late Work: Assignments are a way for me to gain a better understanding of where you are at in learning the
material covered. I don’t give homework just for the sake of giving homework. It is given to enhance your
learning of a given topic or concept. I EXPECT you to not only do it on time, but also to put forth your best
effort. If you have not given your best effort I will ask you to do it over before you receive credit. If you by
chance have a late assignment, it will be accepted, but a 50% deduction will be taken. Late work MAY BE
TURNED IN ONLY DURING THE SAME UNIT OF STUDY. EXAMPLE: An assignment given during the
legislative branch unit may be turned in up until the final test on the legislative branch, after that it will not be
Cheating: I hold you to a high standard and cheating WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Homework is to be done
by YOU, unless otherwise instructed by Mr. Fortmann. All incidence of cheating will be given a zero and may
be subject to the Muskego High School policies dealing with academic dishonesty. Do your own thing and you
will be fine. Cheating is not worth it.
My Expectations of You:
I have the expectation that when you come to our class, your focus is 100% American Issues. In order to do
that, I do not tolerate behaviors that distract either your learning or that of your classmates. I expect you to
respect all of the following: Mr. Fortmann, fellow students, property, yourself. In order to do this a couple
of things must happen:
Take Yourself Seriously: We both want you to succeed in American Issues. Follow directions, do your
homework and act like the young adult that you are, and success will follow. My number one job is to help
you succeed in this class. I am always available should you have questions or need some extra help.
Come to Class Ready to Learn: You control your attitude. Come to class with an open mind and ready to
learn. If I find that you are working on other work when it is expected that you are working on American
Issues, I will confiscate the work and it will NOT be given back. Homework should be done at home or in
Allow others to Learn: Many classes will feature class discussion. While all opinions will be welcomed, it is
expected that you raise your hand to add to our discussion. If someone else is expressing their opinion, it is
expected that everyone else in class is focused on that person. If you cannot do this we will have problems.
Use the WEBSITE: www.fortmann.wikispaces.com
I have created this website to help you succeed in this class. Most info covered in class will be put up on the
website. It takes a lot of effort to keep this up to date so I expect you to use it. If you miss class or forget
something access the website!
All actions have consequences either good or bad. If your actions in class begin to disrupt our class harmony,
you will given a warning. If this continues to be a problem you show me that you need help in understanding
proper classroom behavior. This will result in spending extra time either before school, after school, or at lunch
Actions can have good consequences as well! If I find that as a class we are going above and beyond, I will not
hesitate to reward you for work well done!
Other Policies: (NO MEANS NO)
Get to class on time. 3 tardies means time with me.
No personal technology. I will take it and hold on to it for the day or take it to the office.
No bathroom the first 10 or last 10 minutes of class. Also, don’t ask if I am in the middle of a
Being at school is very important to being successful. Nothing can make up for being in class. If you
do happen to be absent you are expected to check the website www.fortmann.wikispaces.com and
look under the American Issues tab to see what you missed. It is my expectation that you will
complete assigned readings and homework assignments. If you have questions about something on
the website please email me or see me when you return to class.
What Can You Expect from Mr. Fortmann?
You can expect me to be passionate about the topics we cover! I take the responsibility of helping you
to become more informed citizens very seriously. You can expect that I will treat you fairly. You can
expect that I will always be available to provide extra help if you need it. Lastly, you can expect that
if you give your best effort in this class, I will do whatever I can to help you in the future: ex.
Recommendation or reference. I look forward to working with you this semester!
(262)-971-1790 ext. 4150