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  1. 1. US Government SyllabusMatthew FrostFree State High School, Room 249(785) 330-1997mfrost@usd497.orgwww.mattfrost22.weebly.comContent: US Government is semester-long course required for graduation. You must past thiscourse and your senior elective to meet the graduation requirements established by Lawrence PublicSchools.The course will include units on foundations of American government, political behavior: governmentby the people, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, comparative politicaland economic systems and participating in state and local government. Current events anddiscussions will be an important part of the class.Course Objectives: • Students will identify their roles in civic life, politics and government. • Students will identify the foundations of the American political system. • Students will understand how the government established by the Constitution embodies the purposes, values, and principles of American democracy. • Students will understand the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs. • Students will identify their roles in American democracy. • Students will become familiar with current events at the local, state, national and international levels as they relate to government and how it functions. • Students will register to vote and participate in local elections.Course Text: American Government, William A. McClenaghanRequired Materials: Please come to class prepared. You should have paper and pencil or pen everyday. You should have your textbook and some type of notebook in which to keep lecture notes andhandouts.Grades: Your grade will be based on a weighted grading system. Tests, quizzes and projects will beworth 70%, participation and daily work will make up the remaining 30%. Daily points will be awardedfor the following: videos, worksheets, journals, current events, and letters to elected officials, etc.Major projects may include the following: creating your ideal government, major decisions by theUS Supreme Court, third party politics and special interest groups, presidential powers and currentevents. Posted assignments are subject to change at the teacher’s discretion as time andcircumstances change.The grading scale is as follows: A = 90%; B = 80%; C = 70%; D = 60%. This scale applies to allassignments in this class.
  2. 2. Study Guides: A study guide for each unit will be handed out before each test. This will help youfocus your studying.Quizzes: There will be quizzes given for certain chapters of each unit, these quizzes will be shortanswer and multiple choice.Tests: There will be a test administered at the conclusion of every unit. Tests will be multiplechoice questions with a choice of several essay questions. Tests will not be considered completeand ready to be graded if you have not attempted to answer the essay question.Make-up work: Missed assignments can be made up, but it is your responsibility to take care ofthat. If I have to ask you to leave the room due to inappropriate behavior you forfeit theopportunity to make up any assignment for that day.Class discussions: Discussions of current events and other topics relevant to public policy will beregular occurrences in class. There will be natural differences of opinion that occur duringdiscussions. Students MUST respect the discussion process and concede that people WILLdisagree. If a student becomes combative or is verbally attacking another student during aclass discussion, that student will be asked to leave class and will forfeit the opportunity tomake up any assignment for that day.Power Standards: The following standards have been established for this course.Power Standards for U.S. Government:Upon completion of U.S. Government, students will be able to: 1) Demonstrate the ability to interpret maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams. 2) Demonstrate research skills (use of databases, evaluation of websites, and use of primary documents). 3) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the foundations of American Government (political tradition, principles, and values; Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights). 4) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of political behavior, civic responsibility, and the political landscape (political parties, voters and voter behavior, electoral process, media and public opinion, interest groups). 5) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the legislative branch (Congress, Expressed/Implied powers, committees, legislative process, and amendment process). 6) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the executive branch. 7) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the judicial branch. 8) Demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of contemporary politics.
  3. 3. Units 1-2 will be covered during the 1st quarter, with 3-5 covered during the 2nd quarter, butmay be adjusted at time dictates to include units 6 & 7Unit 1: Foundations of American Government, Chapters 1-4 Objectives: the students will be able to identify the following 1. the relationship between government and the state, theories on the origins of the state, political philosophies that influenced US government and the goals, as expressed in our founding documents 2. different forms of government and how power is shared and/or distributed in each 3. basic concepts of democracy in the United States 4. origins of the American system of government 5. the six basic principles embedded in the US Constitution and the formal and informal amendment process 6. how federalism works in the United States and the relationship between states and the national government and interstate relationshipsUnit 2: Political Behavior: Government By the People, Chapters 5-9 Objectives: the students will be able to identify the following 1. political parties, what they do and how they are organized 2. party systems and how the two-party system has worked in American history 3. minor parties in the United States 4. historical voting patterns and/or behaviors 5. voter qualifications 6. the role of the suffrage and civil rights movements in expanding voting rights in US history 7. the electoral process from the nomination through election, including the role of money in the process 8. the role of the mass media and public opinion in the electoral process 9. the role of interest groups in the political processUnit 3: The Legislative Branch, Chapters 10-12 Objectives: the students will be able to identify the following 1. the structure of the national legislature 2. qualifications for the House of Representatives and Senate 3. Congressional powers: expressed, implied and nonlegislative 4. the committee process and how a bill becomes a law
  4. 4. Unit 4: The Executive Branch, Chapters 13-17 Objectives: the students will be able to identify the following 1. presidential qualifications and the succession process 2. the nomination and electoral process 3. presidential powers and the growth in scope for the executive 4. the role of the federal bureaucracy: presidential advisors, departments, independent agencies and civil service 5. how government is financed: tax and nontax revenues, borrowing and the budgeting process 6. the role of foreign affairs and national security in the political process: agencies responsible for administering policies 7. American foreign policy and the role of alliancesUnit 5: The Judicial Branch, Chapters 18-21 Objectives: the students will be able to identify the following 1. the role of the national judiciary, including the structure and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, inferior courts and special courts 2. civil liberties and the First Amendment freedoms: religion, press, assembly, petition 3. how civil liberties protect individual rights: due process, search & seizure, accused persons, and punishment 4. major Supreme Court cases dealing with civil liberties 5. the modern and historic role of civil rights and equal justice 6. the role of Amendments and Civil Rights laws in providing equal protection 7. how citizenship is granted and reasons why it can be taken away Major assignments: 1. Supreme Court case studiesUnit 6 & 7: Comparative Political & Economic Systems & Participating in State and LocalGovernment, Chapters 22-25 (there will be a combined unit exam) Objectives for unit 6: the students will be able to identify the following 1. the political systems for the following countries: Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and China 2. the differences between the following economic systems: capitalism, socialism, and communism Objectives for unit 7: the students will be able to identify the following 1. the origins and structure of state constitutions 2. the power and role of state legislatures 3. the power and role of governors and other administrative offices at the state level 4. the structure and jurisdiction of state courts 5. the power, structure and relationships between counties, towns and townships 6. the power, structure and relationships between cities and metropolitan areas 7. what services are provided and how those services are financed