Hello Future AP Government Students,
I am writing this to inform you that there is no summer assignment, which I am sure you appreciate. However, due to this being a presidential election year, I ask that you pay attention to the candidates and issues of the 2016 election. If you will be 18 by November 8, 2016, you should be very interested, because you can vote in the election. In addition to the presidential election, there are many other important races to follow including the election for the 2nd district representative to the U.S. House of Representatives and the election for one of Ohio’s U.S. Senate seats.
The two main political party conventions will be this summer. This is when the parties will officially nominate their candidate for president and write their party platforms. The platform lays out the party’s positions on key issues. The Republican convention is in Cleveland and will be July 18-21 and the Democratic convention is in Philadelphia and will be July 25-28. These conventions will be televised and you can access clips online.
You will start noticing political advertising soon, whether it be on television, radio, or even on social media in the form of pop up ads and banners. Pay attention to the goals and strategies of the advertising. Are they positive ads about a candidate or are they negative against a candidate? Are they asking for donations? Do you notice that certain sites have different candidates promoted? Who is funding these ads? It usually says at the end of the ad or at the bottom of a banner. (ie. “I am John Smith and I support this message” or paid by Citizens who Want Peace and Happiness.) If you are interested in figuring out which candidate you support most, based on your interest in certain areas, there are a number of online quizzes that can offer insights. Here are just a few sites to try:
In addition to matching you with the two main political party candidates, these quizzes can also match you with some of the minor parties, which we will be talking about in class.
I also encourage you to pay attention to the news and how the government responds to major current events over the summer. Each Friday, we will have a “Citizen of the Week” presentation. Each of you will be assigned a Friday class segment in which you will choose a topic about a government issue and lead a discussion about the topic. Paying attention to the news through TV, newspapers, and social media will prepare you for this assignment and the class.
Finally, I am looking forward to having lots of discussions and debates about the topics we cover. You will have more success in the class if you have an understanding of current events and an interest in thinking about problems and solutions. So I challenge those who have not really thought about government, politics, and the world of policy to seek out information to be able to discuss these issues when you come back in August. Whether its adding a news feed on your Twitter account, or pulling up a news site on a daily basis to read the headlines and the articles that interest you, there are many ways to engage with what is going on. For those of you who are already interested, keep discussing policies and ideas with friends and family. Seek out those who may have a different point from you and engage them in civil discussions as well.
I can’t wait to begin the next year of AP Government and Politics. Each year is different and brings with it new discussions and personalities. If you would like to contact me over the summer to ask questions or share an observation, email me at email@example.com. You can also comment on this letter, if you would like. See you in August!
AP Government Teacher
An in-depth examination of our Government through simulations, readings, debates and discussions. Covering topics from the creation of our Constitution to the modern applications of our Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, this course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam in United States Government and Politics. Spring Semester will add Economic principles related to our Government into our studies as we make the final preparations for the AP Exam in May.
Students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of our government. Our focus will be on the following core topics:
1. Constitution/ Federalism
2. Public Opinion and Elections
3. Linking mechanisms between the people and the Government
4. Institutions of Government
5. Public Policy
6. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Students will also work toward a deeper understanding of current events and their relationship to our course curriculum.
Any 12th grade student may take AP government or 11th grade students who have successfully completed AP US History may take AP Government
Exams follow the AP test format (Multiple Choice and Free Response Writing)
What will a student HAVE to do to be successful in this AP level class?
Success can be defined in multiple ways. UCLA basketball coach John Wooden defined success as: "...the peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
With that in mind, you can work toward that type of success by:
1. Coming to class prepared with readings and notes completed
2. Participating in class discussions
3. Reviewing reading and lecture notes on a daily basis
4. Following current events in the news.... Yes that means watching TV!
5. Asking questions
Why should students take this AP course?
Students should look to take AP Government to gain a deeper understanding of the government and how you can become a more active participant in current events. Also, our class will focus on the media and will help students become more active consumers of information. Any student interested in a career in politics, law, media, or economics should consider taking this course.