The Urban Agenda
curriculum directly addresses the principles and problems of the
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
Some examples of issues applied to the study American
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.
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.
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.