American Government

The Urban Agenda curriculum directly addresses the principles and problems of the U.S. government.  Thus, the curriculum directly addresses the goals and objectives of high school American Government classes.  Teachers can use the Urban Agenda model to bring the lessons “to life” for the students.  Students will gain an understanding of the workings of the government as well as the numerous factors involved in the decision-making process. 

Out of all the disciplines in the social studies curriculum, American government is perhaps the most suited for agenda building process of the Urban Agenda.  The American government teacher can use the agenda building process to look at many aspects in American government, from voting to civic responsibility.  The student of American government can use the agenda building process to study something within the discipline of interest to them.  They’ll feel a connection to the material and want to learn the material in order to become empowered.  Both teacher and student will benefit greatly.

Some examples of issues applied to the study American Government

1.  American government students, when viewing the class through the issue of homelessness could look at the infrastructure established by the government.  One could look at the public policy towards the poor, and the debated growth of the Welfare State, from FDR to present.  Also, there can be reports and investigation into programs like HUD and the subsidized government housing program.   

2.   When the student of American government is focused on the issue of disease and health care, there are many bureaucratic agencies and organizations to research and investigate.  These agencies, like the CDC and the FDA, can help students see how the American system either works or fails and their decision towards that debate.  The student could also look at the politically motivated decisions on disease issue like stem cell research, funding for cancer research and funding for AIDS research. 

3.   The American government classroom is focused on teaching about the three branches and the two parties that make up our system.  The students learning about this system can use an issue like gun control to look at the foundational platforms of the two parties – i.e. the political decisions and stances on gun control.  This can give students a sampler of the left and right so that they are more politically and governmentally informed.  Students of American government can also use this issue to look at the power of the gun lobby and thus learn about the power of the lobbyist. 

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