Standard 1 POLITICAL SCIENCE
Students will understand the historical development and current status of the fundamental concepts and processes of authority, power, and influence, with particular emphasis on the democratic skills and attitudes necessary to become responsible citizens.
1. The student will demonstrate understanding of the structure and functions of government and politics in the United States
A. The Foundations and Function of Government
- 1. The student will evaluate how the principles of government assist or impede the functioning of government (1.1.2).
- Concepts: federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, judicial review, representative democracy, limited government, rule of law, individual rights and responsibilities, consent of the governed, majority rule, popular sovereignty, equal protection, and eminent domain.
- Federal and Maryland state government: Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers, structure and organization.
- Local government will be assessed in terms of powers and responsibilities.
- Selection of National and Maryland state leaders: Electoral College and election/appointment processes
- Evaluate the principles of federalism, representative democracy, popular sovereignty, consent of the governed, separation of powers, checks and balances, rule of law, limited government, majority rule and how they protect individual rights and impact the functioning of government
- Explain how the powers of government are divided and shared on the federal and state levels including delegated, reserved and concurrent powers
- Analyze the principle of equal protection and how it has affected individual rights
- Examine the purpose of eminent domain and how it affects citizens rights
- Describe the formal process for amending the Constitution and why this process is necessary
- Describe how the Constitution provides for checks and balances, such as Legislative overrides of vetoes, the limitations on the powers of the President and the appointment process (Unit 2)
- Explain the powers denied to the national and state governments including: bills of attainder, ex post facto laws and the suspension of habeas corpus in the Constitution
- Identify and explain the implied powers of Congress including the Elastic Clause (necessary and proper) and its effects on the functioning of government
- Describe the bicameral structure, powers and organization of the United States Congress and the Maryland General Assembly
- Describe legislative tools that can be used during the law making process, such as filibuster, conference committees, and over-riding a veto
- Examine the powers and functions of local legislative bodies in Maryland, such as county councils, county commissioners, and city councils (Unit 3)
- Describe the structure, powers and authority of the executive branch on the federal, state, and local levels
- Analyze the degree to which the powers of the executive branch have changed over time, such as the War Powers Act (1973)
- Describe the selection process for the president of the United States including the Electoral College (Unit 4)
- Describe the powers, structure and organization of the Federal and Maryland court systems
- Explain the difference between original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction
- Explain how judicial review affects the functioning of government
- Analyze why the United States Supreme Court justices’ interpretations of the Constitution change over time
- Explain the methods of selecting federal justices/judges and Maryland judges (Unit 5)
- Describe an individual’s legal obligations to obey the law, pay taxes, serve on a jury and serve as a witness
- Describe the election process in the United States including the nominating process, primary and general elections (Unit 7)
- 2. The student will analyze historic documents to determine the basic principles of United States government and apply them to real-world situations (1.1.1).
- Historic Documents: Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
- Students are to know which rights/protections are addressed by the first ten amendments. Students are not expected to know the contents of any document by number. Other documents and amendments may be assessed, but excerpts will be provided.
- Basic principles: federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, judicial review, representative democracy, limited government, rule of law, individual rights and responsibilities, consent of the governed, majority rule, popular sovereignty, equal protection.
- Describe the purposes of government, such as protecting individual rights, promoting the common good and providing economic security
- Evaluate why governments are formed (Unit 1)
- Examine the fundamental principles of government and law developed by leading philosophers, such as Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau
- Explain how common law and historic documents, such as Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights and the Mayflower Compact influenced the framers of the Constitution and its development
- Analyze how the Constitution eliminated the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
- Examine the ratification process of the Constitution and the arguments that occurred including the view points of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists
- Explain the fundamental principles of American government contained in the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, United States Constitution and the Maryland Constitution
- Analyze the Preamble as the mission statement of the Constitution of the United States
- Identify the rights in the Bill of Rights and how they protect individuals and limit the power of government
- Apply the principles of federalism, checks and balances, rule of law, judicial review, separation of powers, consent of the governed and majority rule to real world situations
- Explain how amendments to the Constitution expand or limit individual civil liberties, such as the 14th Amendment, 18th Amendment & proposed flag burning amendment (Unit 2)
- 3. The student will evaluate roles and policies the government has assumed regarding public issues (1.1.3).
- Public issues: Environment (pollution, land use), Entitlements (Social Security, welfare) Health care and public health (costs, substance abuse, diseases) Censorship (media, technology) Crime (prevention, punishments) Equity (race, ethnicity, region, religion, gender, language, socioeconomic status, age, and individuals with disabilities.)
- Describe how executive departments and agencies enforce governmental policies that address public issues, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) (Unit 4)
- Analyze significant issues in domestic policy and how they reflect the national interest, values and principles, such as healthcare, high level of security awareness, environmental concerns
- Analyze the decisions made by the government on domestic issues and their effect on society, such as entitlements, socioeconomic status, individuals with disabilities, welfare reform
- Evaluate the effects of crime and crime prevention as a public policy issue on government spending, quality of life and campaign issues
- Evaluate the effect that international, national, and regional interests have on shaping environmental policy, such as logging forested areas, oil drilling, pollution, nuclear power, or alternative energy sources
- Define public health and health care issues and evaluate existing government policy, such as smoking in public places, Medicare and Medicaid
- Evaluate censorship of the media and technology as a public policy issue, such as obscene material and mass media, right to privacy, internet filters, hate speech, intellectual property, or invasive technology
- Describe public policies that promote equity, such as affirmative action, and Higher Education Act Title IX (1972)
- Describe how the United States provides national and international service programs to meet the critical needs of society, such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps (Unit 6)
B. Individual and Group Participation in the Political System
- 1. The student will explain roles and analyze strategies individuals or groups may use to initiate change in governmental policy and institutions (1.1.4).
- Explain how initiative, referendum, and recall are opportunities for individuals and groups to initiate change in state and local government policy
- Analyze the external factors that influence the law-making process including the roles of the media, lobbyists, Political Action Committees (PACs), special-interest groups, citizens and public opinion (Unit 3)
- Analyze the role of the media, special-interest groups, and public opinion in influencing the policy and decisions of the executive branch (Unit 4)
- Evaluate how the media, political parties, special-interest groups, lobbyists, Political Action Committees (PACs) influence public opinion and government policies
- Evaluate the reliability and influence of the media on elections, elected officials and public opinion
- Describe the roles of political parties in the United States and how they influence elections, elected officials and public opinion
- Describe how citizens, candidates, campaigns and campaign financing influence the political process in the United States
- Analyze the roles of participants in the election process including voting, contributing, and electioneering
- Analyze how citizens make informed decisions regarding candidates, issues, and policies
- Describe the importance of being informed on civic issues, volunteering and public service
- Analyze various methods that individuals or groups may use to influence laws and governmental policies including petitioning, letter writing and acts of civil disobedience (Unit 7)
2. The student will evaluate how the United States government has maintained a balance between protecting rights and maintaining order.
C. Protecting Rights and Maintaining Order
- 1. The student will analyze the impact of landmark Supreme Court decisions on governmental powers, rights, and responsibilities of citizens in our changing society (1.2.1).
- Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Gideon v. Wainwright, Tinker v. Des Moines Board of Education, and New Jersey v. T.L.O.
- Other cases that address the same issues could be used, but information about these cases will be provided in the item.
- Analyze the United States Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison (1803) and the establishment of judicial review
- Analyze the historical expansion of the powers of the federal government by examining the United States Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
- Analyze how the Supreme Court decisions in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) impacted the rights of individuals
- Examine the significance of the United States Supreme Court's decisions on the rights of those accused of crimes in the cases Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) and Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
- Examine the expansion or restriction of student rights in the cases Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969) and New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985)
- Examine the impact of United States Supreme Court decisions on minority and civil rights issues, such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
- Evaluate the decisions of the United States Supreme Court that have limited or expanded the liberties of citizens, such as Schenck v. U.S. (1919), Gitlow v. New York (1925), Engel v. Vitale (1962), Katz v. U.S. (1967), Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988), Texas v. Johnson (1989) (Unit 5)
- 2. The student will analyze legislation designed to protect the rights of individuals and groups and to promote equity in American society (1.2.2).
- Evaluate the effectiveness of legislation in promoting equity and civil rights, such as the Civil Rights Act (1964), Voting Rights Act (1965), Higher Education Act Title IX (1972), Indian Education Act (1972), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997)
- Examine immigration policies the government has implemented, such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) and the Immigration Act of 1990
- Identify the purpose of affirmative action and explain how the implementation of affirmative action has changed over time (Unit 3)
- 3. The student will evaluate the impact of governmental decisions and actions that have affected the rights of individuals and groups in American society and/or have affected maintaining order and/or safety (1.2.3).
- Presidential use of power and executive orders on rights, order, and/or safety. National government agencies actions affecting rights, order and/or safety. State actions affecting rights, order and/or safety.
- Describe the purpose, limitations and impact of executive orders in maintaining order and providing safety for citizens
- Explain how executive departments and regulatory agencies assist in maintaining order and protecting the safety of the nation, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Analyze the impact of national emergencies on the expansion of the powers of the government
- Analyze the relationship between governmental authority and maintaining order under the rule of law
- Describe how the governor of Maryland can use executive power to maintain order and safety in the state, such as calling out the National Guard in the case of a natural disaster (Unit 4)
- Examine the impact of government decisions on individuals and groups, such as approval policies of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), environmental standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regulations by the Maryland Department of the Environment
- Evaluate the role of state and national governments concerning issues related to public safety and maintaining order, such as crime prevention, changes in driver's license requirements, seat belt laws, and immunization shots (Unit 6)
- 4. The student will evaluate the principle of due process (1.2.4).
- Explain the meaning of due process of law as set forth in the Fifth Amendment
- Explain how procedural due process limits the powers of government and protects the accused
- Explain why it is necessary to have both substantive and procedural due process
- Analyze the implications and applications of the Fourteenth Amendment, focusing on the due process and equal protection clauses
- Explain how the Supreme Court used the incorporation doctrine to expand the influence of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in cases, such as Gitlow v. New York (1925), Near v. Minnesota (1931), Mapp v. Ohio (1961) (Unit 5)
- 5. The student will analyze elements, proceedings, and decisions related to criminal and civil law (1.2.5).
- Compare and contrast the elements, proceedings and decisions in civil and criminal law.
- Civil law: plaintiff, defendant, contract, breach of contract, torts (lawsuits involving negligence), damages, preponderance of evidence, petit jury, and out-of-court settlements.
- Criminal law: defendant, prosecutor, reasonable doubt, felony, misdemeanor, grand jury, indictment, probable cause, presumption of innocence, plea bargaining, writ of habeas corpus, and subpoena.
- Describe the role of the courts in settling disputes between individuals
- Analyze alternatives to litigation in the United States legal system for maintaining order and resolving conflicts including out-of-court settlements, arbitration and mediation
- Identify the elements of civil law including: plaintiff, defendant, contract, breach of contract, torts, damages, preponderance of evidence, petit jury
- Identify the elements of criminal law including: defendant, prosecutor, reasonable doubt, felony, misdemeanor, grand jury, indictment, probable cause, presumption of innocence, plea bargaining, writ of habeas corpus, subpoena
- Compare the proceedings of civil and criminal cases including: grand jury, petit jury, indictment, standards of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt and preponderance of the evidence), plea bargaining, probable cause, writ of habeas corpus, and subpoena (Unit 5)
Note: The V.S.C. High School American Government course contains objectives that are compiled and tagged by corresponding unit. The titles of the units are:
Unit 1. PURPOSES, FORMS, AND TYPES OF POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STRUCTURES
Unit 2. FOUNDATIONS AND PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
Unit 3. LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES (NATIONAL, STATE AND LOCAL)
Unit 4. EXECUTIVE BRANCHES (NATIONAL, STATE AND LOCAL)
Unit 5. JUDICIAL BRANCHES (NATIONAL AND STATE)
Unit 6. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY
Unit 7. PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT
In the language of the objectives, the use of including refers to content that is recommended for instruction. The use of such as in the language of the objective refers to content that may be used as examples, but is not required.