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Advanced Placement Government: 2014-2015

The AP Government and Politics course will be taught in accordance to the AP College Board as well as including the state mandated Missouri
Constitution, U.S. Constitution, and End-Of-Course exams. The class will be taught in 50 minutes classes every day that school is in session.
Course Overview/Description:
This course explores the political theory and everyday practice that direct the daily operations of our government and shape our public policies.
The purpose of this course is to prepare students to take the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam in the spring. This course will also prepare
students to take the Missouri Government EOC, the Missouri Constitution Exam, and the U.S. Constitution exam. Successful completion of the
Missouri and U.S. Constitution Exam is a requirement for graduation in the state of Missouri.
This course for all intents and purposes is designed to prepare students for college and will be taught accordingly. The students will be required
to complete assigned readings outside of class in preparation for daily discussions and activities. The objectives of this course go beyond the
basic analysis of how our government works. Students will develop a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the American
political system, as well as their rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen.
Teaching Strategies:
The course will be divided between lecture, discussion, writing, and creation of projects. Students will be responsible for keeping up with current
events in the news and will be assigned a "Friday Update" each week that will be on a rotating basis. During that time students will discuss:
public policy, international relations, institutions, linkage institutions, etc.) The students will create a Google account in which the teacher will
post assignments, readings, projects, etc. The students will be responsible for turning in all assigned work using Google Docs unless instructed
otherwise.
Course Readings:
The students will be using the following texts for the duration of this course:
Bianco, William T., and David T. Canon. American Politics Today: Essentials. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011. Print. (Required)
Serow, Ann Gostyn. The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity. 5th ed. Baltimore: Lanahan Publishers, 2011. Print. (Suggested)
Readings will also be supplemented with classroom handouts throughout the year
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Classroom Procedures
Expectations:
1. Be Respectful and Participate! A learning environment works best when we respect each other. To learn and grow we must be willing
to take risks and enter uncharted territory, and we cannot do that if we are afraid of ridicule or judgment. Respect includes our tone
of verbal and non verbal communication, as well as our willingness to participate in what we are doing.
2. Attendance! Attendance is a must in this course as we will dive into a variety of complex issues, philosophies, and systems. If you are
absent it is YOUR responsibility to come get the assigned work/information. I will be available before and after school to assist you in
getting caught up. If you are going to be absent on a test date it is your responsibility to notify me BEFORE the exam day.
3. Have fun! Government is a very exciting and interesting course. There is no right or wrong answer. Be creative and keep your mind
open to new ideas.
4. Try your hardest and you will succeed; success isnt defined by what grade you get; as long as you do your work to the best of your
ability that is success
Rules:
I dont have many; YOURE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Most of these youre already familiar with:

Food and drink - Drinks will be allowed in the classroom as long as you keep the room clean and pick up your mess. THIS IS A
PRIVELAGE, NOT A RIGHT and can be taken away if it is abused.

IPod/MP3/Cell Phone - This class offers individual and group work time. You may use your cell phones/IPods during individual work
time to research and work independently. They are not to be out when the teacher is giving instructions or during lecture. Again, THIS
IS A PRIVELAGE, NOT A RIGHT.

Videos and Movies:


During the course of the year we will occasionally view movies that are related directly to the course information. These movies will not
exceed a PG-13 rating without parental permission.

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Grading Scale
A 94-100%
A- 90-93%

B+ 86-89%
B 83-85%
B- 80-82%

C+ 76-79%
C 73-75%
C- 70-72%

D+ 66-69%
D 63-65%
D- 60-62%

F 59-0%

AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum


Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government (5-15%)

Considerations that influenced the formulation and adoption of the Constitution


Separation of powers
Federalism
Theories of democratic government

Political beliefs and behaviors (10-20%)

Beliefs that citizens hold about their government and its leaders
Processes by which citizens learn about politics
The nature, sources, and consequences of public opinion
The ways in which citizens vote and otherwise participate in political life
Factors that influence citizens to differ from one another in terms of political beliefs and behaviors

Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media (10-20%)

Political parties and elections


o Functions
o Organization
o Development
o Effects on the political process
o Electoral laws and systems

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Interest groups, including political action committees (PACs)


o The range of interests represented
o The activities of interest groups
o The effects of interest groups on the political process
o The unique characteristics and roles of PACs in the political process
The mass media
o The functions and structures of the media
o The impact of media on politics

Institutions of National Government: the Congress, the Presidency, the Bureaucracy, and the Federal Courts (35-45%)

The major formal and informal institutional arrangements of power


Relationships among these four institutions and varying balances of power
Linkages between institutions and the following:
o Public opinion and voters
o Interest groups
o Political parties
o The media
o State and local governments

Public policy (5-15%)

Policy making in a federal system


The formation of policy agendas
The role of institutions in the enactment of policy
The role of the bureaucracy and the courts in policy implementation and interpretation
Linkages between policy processes and the following:
o Political institutions and federalism
o Political parties
o Interest groups
o Public opinion

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o
o

Elections
Policy networks

Civil rights and civil liberties (5-15%)


The development of civil liberties and civil rights by judicial interpretation
Knowledge of substantive rights and liberties
The impact of the Fourteenth Amendment on the constitutional development of rights and liberties
AP Exam:

Students are expected to take the AP exam. The AP Exam scores are not received until early July. These scores are therefore not
used as a part of a students average in the course. The exam will be on Tuesday, May 12, 2014 at 8:00AM. There is a fee for the
exam.
Section I: Multiple Choice
This sections consists of 60 multiple-choice questions that represent the knowledge you should understand and be able to apply.
Section II: Free Response Questions
This sections will have 4 questions that will test your knowledge and understanding of multiple concepts from the course. You will be asked to
define, explain, describe, analyze, and evaluate a multitude of concepts and demonstrate your understanding of how these concepts interact
and influence the daily political atmosphere in the United States. It is recommended that you take 25 minutes for each free response question.
AP Government Exam Format

Section I
Question Type
Multiple Choice

Number of Questions

Timing

60

45 minutes

Section II
Free Response Questions

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100 minutes

Course Outline
UNIT

TEXTBOOK
CHAPTERS
American
Politics Today:
Ch. 1, 2, 3

COURSE THEME

2. Political
Socialization,
Behavior,
Ideologies, and
Public Opinion

American
Politics Today:
Ch 5

II. Political Beliefs


and Behaviors

3. Mass
Movement
Politics

American
Politics Today:
Ch. 6, 7, 8

1. Foundations of
U.S. Government,
Federalism

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I. Constitutional
Underpinnings of
U.S. Government

III. Political Parties,


Interest Groups,
and Mass Media

READINGS/CHARTS/
TABLES
Federalist #51
Chart: Distribution of
Federal Grants
Chart: Population
Distribution in 1790
America
Thomas Paine: Rights of
Man
Federalists #39
Chart: Voter Turnout
(Midterm and General
Elections)
Graph: Demographic
Political Affiliation
Graph: Gender Political
Affiliation
Map: 1960-2012 Electoral
College Maps
Federalist #10
Chart: PAC contributions
Law Study: 501 (c)(4) for
Super PACs
Graph: Congressional
District/Gerrymandering
Chart: Candidate Spending
by State
Analysis: Stephen Colbert
Super PACs

TOPICS OVERVIEW
What is the purpose of government? What was the founders
view of the purpose of government? What made this new system
great, and what still applies to founders initial intent. Why did
Madison fear factions? What were the reasons of the swift
adoption of the Bill of Rights? Why did the Anti-Federalists fear
federalism? What are state and local powers defined as? What
influence does the federal government have or the state
government? Define the following concepts: democratic theory,
republicanism, pluralist theory, majoritarianism, and the elitist
theory.
What am I? and more importantly why am I that? How do we
come by our political beliefs? Is it how or where we were
raised? or is it a decision we make on our own?
What are the sources of public opinion? What is political
culture? What is the role of the citizen in a civil society? Which
citizens vote and why?

Is this the best system to develop and select leaders? Are


citizens well served by the current process? How has the
electoral process changed over time?
Elections: How are candidates selected to run for office? What
role is played by party organizations, PACs and money
generally in campaigns? What role do these groups play in the
electoral process? Should the current campaign system be
overhauled and reformed? What could we expect from the 2016
Presidential election? Blanket targeting v specific targeting

Chart: Breakdown of
Media Viewership (CNN,
FOX, MSNBC)

(Ohio 2012)
Media: What role does the media play in elections and shaping
public opinion? In what ways does the media influence the
electoral process?

4. Congress

American
Politics Today:
Ch. 9

IV. Institutions of
National
Government

Reading: Incumbent
Advantage
Chart: Congressional
Reapportionment (2012)
Chart: U.S. Congress
Approval Jan 2013-Jan
2014

How our laws made? Does the current system reflect what
founders intended? Does the current system adequately work for
citizens today? How does Congress represent and reflect the
interest and desires of the nation? Is Congress representative of
the nation as a whole? Is this the most efficient and effective
way to make policy? Compare and contrast the makeup and
operations of the House and Senate focusing on rules and
leadership.

5. The Presidency
and Bureaucracy

American
Politics Today:
Ch 10, 11

IV. Institutions of
National
Government

Analysis: Executive Order


by Term
Analysis: Treaties v
Agreements
Political Campaign Ad
Analysis
Graph: Federal Employee
Breakdown
Chart: Executive Employee
Breakdown
Analysis: The Growing,
and Shrinking, and
Growing Departments
Federalist #78
Judiciary Act of 1789
Graph: Supreme Court
Case Acceptance
Analysis: Cases per Courts

What are the formal and informal powers of the presidency?


How has Presidential power changed over time? How have
Presidents abused/used powers throughout history? How do the
other branches of government check and balance out the
Executive Branch?

6. The Courts

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American
Politics Today:
Ch 12

IV. Institutions of
National
Government

Bureaucracy: What are the specific issues addressed in public


policy making? Define an Iron Triangle, does it exist and if so
how does it influence policy implementations? Who controls the
bureaucracy: The president? Congress? The people? Does a
largely permanent professional bureaucracy serve democracy?

What role do the courts play in interpreting the Constitution and


implementing public policy? What is the proper role for the
judicial branch in the public policy process? How do cases make
their way to the Supreme Court?

(Marshall Court, etc)


7. Public Policy

8.Civil Rights and


Liberties

American
Politics Today:
Ch 14, 15

American
Politics Today:
Ch 4, 13

V. Public Policy

VI. Civil Rights and


Liberties

Chart: Government
Spending (2013)
Chart: Federal Budgets
Analysis: Social Security
Breakdown: Congressional
Dipping
Chart: Discretionary
Spending
Chart: Foreign Aid

Case Studies:
1.Marbury v Madison
2. Barron v. Baltimore
3. McCulloch v. Maryland
4. Plessy v. Ferguson
5. Gideon v. Wainwright
6. Palko v. Connecticut
7. Brown v. BOE
8.Miranda v. Arizona
9. Roe v. Wade
10. Mapp v. Ohio
Chart: Minorities in
Congress (1964 - 2012)

Who sets policy agendas for our nation? How does federalism
affect public policy? Areas of study include:
1.The Economy: How is the federal budget made? How is
monetary policy different form fiscal policy? What is the
global economy? How does the global economy influence U.S
policy?
2.Social Policy: What are subsidies and entitlements? What is
the proper role for government in social issues such as
education, welfare, and crime?
3.U.S Foreign Policy: What role should the U.S play in the
world? What is, and what should be, our relationship with the
United Nations?
1st Amendment Freedoms: What constitutes free speech? How
does the national Bill of Rights apply to states? Do the courts
legislate from the bench?
1.Freedom of Speech, the Press, and Assembly: What forms of
speech are protected? How is the 1st Amendment affected in
times of crises?
2.Religion: What constitutes establishment? What are the
limits of free exercise?
14th Amendment: What is the equal protection: under the law?
How does the national Bill of Rights apply to the states? Do the
courts legislate from the bench?
1.Life, Liberty, and Property: What is procedural due process? Is
there a right to privacy? What do property rights mean in
relation to community interests?

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2.Equal Protection Under the Law: How has the interpretation of


the equal protection clause changed over time? How have laws
like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
and affirmative action influenced our understanding of the
clause?

*AP Exam will take place Tuesday May 12, 2015*


*Note* Students will take the U.S. Constitution Exam following the completion of unit 8 to meet the state of Missouri requirements for
graduation. Following successful completion of the U.S. Constitution Exam students will begin Missouri Constitution unit and complete the state
required Missouri Constitution Exam.
*Note* Missouri Government End-of-Course Exam will be given at the end of the year

Contact Info:

Parents,
Please review the attached syllabus with your student. They contain information regarding their success in AP
U.S. Government and Politics for the upcoming year. Students should keep these for future reference. Once you have
reviewed the attached syllabus please sign and fill in the contact information below. Your son or daughter should return
only this page to me.
Thank You,

I (print students name) ___________________________, have read and understand the 2014-2015 AP U.S. Government and Politics syllabus. I
understand their contents and agree to follow the rules outlined in them. I understand that failure to follow these or other verbal or written
instructions may result in removal from the classroom or lab, detention, failure, and/or dismissal from the class.
Students Signature: _____________________________ Date: ______________
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I understand that my child is expected to follow the rules outlined in the syllabus and safety contract. I also understand the consequences of my
childs failure to abide by these guidelines.
Parents Signature: ______________________________ Date: _______________
Parents email address: ___________________________________

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