Civics is designed as a culminating U.S. Studies class that fosters informed citizens essential to the perpetuation of the American Republic. A U.S. Studies course is a prerequisite for this course. Students learn and utilize knowledge and skills for responsible, participatory citizenship based on a firm understanding of the principles and practices of our government coupled with civil rights and responsibilities, sound financial literacy and global awareness. Students investigate what has happened, explore what is happening and predict what will happen to the social, political and economic problems that beset America and the world using the skills and resources of the past and present centuries. Students continue to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills collaboratively and independently to become informed citizens and consumers who practice economically sound decision-making, are geographically aware of the physical and human landscapes of the world, and protect, preserve and defend their system of government. New and refined knowledge gained in Civics is communicated and shared throughout the community as students engage in community service and service-learning that allows classrooms to span continents and serve as the heart of the community.
Strive to become vigilant, informed citizens who actively participate in the preservation and improvement of American government through community service and service-learning (e.g., individual service projects, patriotic events, mock trials, group initiatives, community volunteerism).
Explore social contracts and the establishment of the rule of law, and evaluate how limited government and the rule of law protect individual rights.
Demonstrate that the purpose of American government is the protection of personal, political and economic rights of citizens as evidenced by the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution, Constitutional Amendments and the ideas of those involved in the establishment of American government.
Consider factors that subvert liberty (including lack of education, voter apathy, disenfranchisement, civil inequalities, economic issues, loss of public trust and misuse of government power), then collaborate, compromise, and by consensus, create a model that informed citizens can use to defend and perpetuate the American Republic.
Examine and analyze the contributing factors to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution:
- leaders and philosophers (e.g., John Locke, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams)
- events (e.g., Glorious Revolution, Reformation and Enlightenment)
- documents (e.g., English Bill of Rights, Petition of Right and Magna Carta)
- classical periods (e.g., eras of Greece and Rome)
- principles (e.g., popular sovereignty, federalism, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, civil liberties and rule of law
Examine the compromises of the Constitutional Convention and how those decisions were characterized in the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist papers.
Evaluate the elements in the U.S. Constitution that make it a living document with democratic principles that are modified and expanded to meet the changing needs of society.
Investigate the system of government created by the Preamble, Seven Articles, the Bill of Rights and other Amendments of the U.S. Constitution to evaluate how the framework for American society is provided.
Analyze how the U.S. Constitution defines federalism and outlines a structure for the United States government.
Analyze the protection of liberties in the Bill of Rights and their expansion through judicial review and the gradual incorporation of those rights by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Analyze how the freedoms of speech and press in a democratic society enable citizens to develop informed opinions, express their views, shape public policy and monitor government actions.
Determine how conflicts between the rights of citizens and society’s need for order can be resolved while preserving both liberty and safety.
Compare and contrast the original and appellate jurisdictions of local, state and national judicial systems to show how America’s court system addresses criminal and civil cases.
Apply the concepts of legal precedent through past and present landmark Supreme Court cases, interpretations of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court and the impact of these decisions on American society.
Develop an understanding of the American legal system through examining existing ordinances, statutes and Federal Acts, exploring the differences between criminal and civil law and determining the legal obligations and liabilities of American citizenship.
Critique the evolution of the two-party system in the United States, evaluate how society and political parties have changed over time and analyze how political parties function today.
Assess the influence of the media on public opinion and on the decisions of elected officials and the bureaucracy:
- bias in reporting and editorials
- push-pull polls and selective reporting of citizen opinions
- advertising and campaign ads
- reporting news out of context
Investigate the impact that special interest groups have on shaping public policy at local, state and national levels.
Assess how factors such as campaign finance, participation of the electorate, and demographic factors influence the outcome of elections.
Examine how decisions and policies of state and local government impact the lives of citizens—such as local issues and problems, structure of local government (e.g., differences in incorporation, providing public services and mayoral styles), zoning and annexation, land use and urban sprawl, and ordinances and jurisdiction.
Explore cooperation, competition and conflict among nations through organizations, agreements and protocols, political acts and other exchanges—such as the United Nations, international treaties and terrorism—to evaluate potential solutions to global issues.
Compare and contrast the values, ideals and principles that are the foundation of a democratic republic and the role citizens play in a constitutional democracy, to the theories and practices of non-democratic governments (e.g. socialism found in communism and nationalism found in fascism).
Examine the opportunity costs in ever-present scarcity for individuals, businesses and societies to understand how to make choices when facing unlimited wants with limited resources.
Debate an effective allocation of the factors of production that encourages healthy economic growth and sustainability while curbing environmental abuses in the global community.
Explain how supply and demand affects prices, profits, and availability of goods and services.
Debate the role of government in a free-market economy.
Describe how households, businesses and government interact in a free-market economy.
Identify economic influences that impact business climate on the local, regional and global level.
Track the evolution of currency throughout history to facilitate the exchange of goods and services.
Investigate the cost of postsecondary education.
- Determine the tuition and fees of several specific public and private, two and four year institutions.
- Examine room and board cost for students that live on campus.
- Examine commuting costs for attending a local institution (gas, car maintenance, distance, time).
- Compare text book costs (used books, new books, digital rentals, Amazon, eCampus, local bookstore, text loaning programs).
- Determine personal expenses (hobbies, restaurants, entertainment, transportation, gas, bills, rent, insurance, cellphone).
- Examine the net price different postsecondary institutions utilizing the net price calculator required to be posted on all postsecondary institution’s web pages.
- Identify sources of financial aid.
- Examine and understand Financial Aid terminology (e.g. FAFSA, EFC, grant, cost of attendance).
- Explore the application process for student loan qualifications and the repayment process.
Evaluate income, lifestyle, and career opportunities based on education and financial aid decisions.
- Differentiate the annual income of a college graduate compared to a high school graduate.
Differentiate between gross and net income (e.g., taxes, insurance and pension plans).
- Explore how earning a degree impacts lifestyle, lifelong earning potential, and personal wants versus needs.
- Investigate the consequences of personal choices in relation to finances.
- Construct, utilize, and monitor a budget for a recent high school graduate.
- Construct, utilize, and monitor a budget for a recent college graduate.
- Compare and contrast the budgets of a high school graduate and a recent college graduate.
Explore how benefits packages, unions, and professional organizations impact lifestyle and career choices.
Examine the expectations and benefits of potential careers and their impact on lifelong earning potential
Examine general workforce preparedness skills.
- Develop a resume showing skills, experiences and education that can be used when applying for a job, a scholarship, or college.
- Participate in mock job interviews.
- Identify workplace expectation, including prompt attendance, timeliness and efficiencies.
Examine the causes of bankruptcy and how to avoid them.
Complete Federal and State income tax forms and examine other state and local taxes.
Complete Federal and State income tax forms and examine other state and local taxes.
Develop the knowledge and practices of a savvy consumer who knows consumer rights and responsibilities, can identify and avoid fraudulent practices and guard against identify theft.
Utilize traditional and online banking services as well as examining fees, services and hidden costs of checking, savings, debit cards, Certificates of Deposit, etc.
Examine financial habits that promote economic security, stability and growth:
- investments (e.g., stocks, mutual funds, certificates of deposits and commodity trading)
- insurance (e.g., life insurance, health insurance, automobile insurance, home and renters insurance and retirement plans).
use census data and public records to identify patterns of change and continuity to understand the impact of the following on society:
- gender differences
- age differences
- voting behavior
- family structure
Conduct research using demographic data to interpret, debate and evaluate the geopolitical implications of a variety of global issues:
- the environment and environmental protection
- political and cultural boundaries
- women’s rights
- cultural diversity and assimilation
- standard of living
Analyze the role of sustainable development in the lives of 21st Century citizens (e.g. renewable energy, recycling, reusing, land use policy, ocean management and energy policy) to balance healthy economic growth with environmental protection.
Analyze the consequences of human and environmental interaction using geographic information systems.
Explore various routes of personal travel and topography using geographic information systems.
compare and contrast the factors of development for developed and developing countries, including the causes and implications of the following:
- population (including migration, immigration, birth rate and life expectancy)
- natural resources and environmental protection
- income, industry, trade and Gross Domestic Product
- climate and geographic conditions
- cultural and social factors
- political management, legal system and stability
- educational opportunities
- standard of living