Purpose and Conduct of the Class
This mandatory junior-level course is meant to provide you a better understanding of American politics and civic engagement. What the course is not is a law class or a place to gripe about one political party or the other; rather, its aim is to give you the tools to make informed interpretations about the happenings around you. Thus, a large portion of the course is devoted to current events and their impacts on civics and government.
There will be a wide variety of published resources used, but the keystone of the course will be our textbook:
- Edwards, George, et al. Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy. Boston: Pearson, 2014.
- McClenaghan, William A. Magruder’s American Government. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011.
You will also be assigned a number of outside readings to digest and be prepared to discuss in-class.
This course content is integral to being a civically-engaged American and, therefore, the expectations are high; your grades will come from many different forms of assessment. Both reading and writing will play a key a role in this course.
There will be some number of summative examinations throughout the course, as necessary. Those tests will usually be based on the material from several chapters in the textbook and class discussions about those topics covered in the material. Exams will be announced well in advance.
Plagiarism and academic dishonesty run rampant in all sectors of academia and are an ever-growing problem for schools. I would have you note those are two distinct items: to plagiarize is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source;” academic dishonesty is more encompassing, as copying assignments or cheating may not seem like plagiarism but are academically dishonest. Plagiarism and cheating are covered clearly on pages 25 & 26 of Hatboro-Horsham High School’s Student/Parent Handbook and, as such, I will not go into depth on that matter here.
Attendance and Classroom Behavior
This sounds basic, but you need to be here. You never had a course like this nor has this material been covered in any other course and your absence from class will greatly diminish your ability to succeed. If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to find-out what you missed, which does not include asking me “what did I miss?” Instead, you should question your peers and copy any notes they may have taken in your absence. Coming to me with questions about what you missed will not work well; however, if you do not understand something we covered, I’ll be more than happy to go over it with you.
I am aware we live in the 21st Century and technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives. We will use that technology, including mobile phones, when appropriate—the key word being appropriate—but texting throughout class will not be tolerated. Using your phone for note-taking or in-class research is encouraged, as it is an invaluable tool; however, I ask before you even enter my classroom to make sure your phone is in “silent” mode.