Mr. Michael Clardy, San Mateo Middle College
Office: Building 17, Room 158
Office Hours: Daily 8:30-11:00 AM and by appointment
Office Phone: (650) 574-6114
Fax: (650) 574-6233
Each election year approximately 18% of eligible voters ages 18-25 do not vote. There are currently 27 million people in your age cohort in the United States. This means that during the last election approximately 19 million 18-24 year olds did not participate in the political process. This is enough voters to decide any presidential elections (Bush beat Kerry in 2004 by 3 million votes!). The policy implications of this lack of participation are enormous. Consequently, this class is designed to show you what you have at stake and how to actively assert yourself in the political process. I hope that by the end of the semester you will have a clear understanding of how to create positive change in our society.
GENERAL COURSE OUTLINE
I. Becoming the Media Through Media Literacy
a. Examine the role and responsibilities of the press
b. Identify how the this role has evolved over time
c. Examine the filters through which all news stories pass
d. Establish connections between the media and specific policy outcomes
e. Identify specific methods for students to become the media
The skills acquired in this unit will be use throughout the semester. You will be asked to be critical readers and viewers of the various forms of media I bring into class. Therefore, you can expect some form of this unit to be part of every formal assessment.
a. What are the principles upon which this country was founded (were do they come from?)? (Constitution)
b. What are the limitations of your rights? (Constitution-Bill of Rights)
c. What are the responsibilities of citizens?
d. Naturalization and immigration
III. The State and Local Governments
a. Examine the various forms of local governments
b. Independent special districts
c. Structure of our state government
d. Direct democracy; ballot initiatives and recall
IV. The Federal Government
a. The Legislative branch (Article I)
i. Examine how a bill becomes a lawb. The Judicial Branch (Article III)
ii. Closely examine how legislative work is divided
iii. Identify how "special interest" impacts public policy
iv. Evaluate the significance of redistricting
i. Examine "judicial review" in the context of specific court casesc. The Executive Branch (Article II)
ii. Debate the issue of "judicial activism"
iii. Identify the significance of "landmark cases" on American society
i. Powers and functionV. How to become an "Activist"
ii. Identify how the President creates public policies
iii. Presidential elections
a. Agents for change
b. Managing expectations
YOU EARN YOUR GRADE. Take responsibility for this reality. The only circumstance under which I will change a grade is if the student can prove that I made a mistake. Therefore, it is extremely important that you keep retain all of your graded work. I am happy to discuss any aspect of your grade outside of class time.
Final grades in this class are based on a weighted system. Your grade will be comprised of the following percentages:
1. Homework 40%
2. Tests -- 40%
3. Final Examination -- 20%
You have the great fortune of taking this class during a presidential election year. Therefore, there will be ample opportunity to earn extra credit. You can do so by working on a campaign, promoting a specific policy, attend meetings of public agencies, etc. Please see me before you begin to work in any of these areas so that we can agree to terms.
Please note that you cannot earn D’s in this class. Therefore, anything less than a C is considered failing.
|Please do the following while in class:
||Please do not do the following while in class:
I thoroughly enjoy working with students your age. I appreciate your energy, your curiosity and the various challenges that you face. Please know that I am committed to helping you succeed. If I am hard on you it is because I have high expectations of the students in this program. So long as you commit to putting forth honest effort, I will give you all the support I can.